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Saddest bears Albania: FOUR PAWS campaigns for a legal ban of cruel bear keeping

FOUR PAWS Helps Improve the Situation of Captive Bears in Albania

Since the end of 2015 FOUR PAWS, in cooperation with Albanian authorities, has aimed to put an to the cruel keeping of bears across Albania.

This joint effort is to stop the non- species- appropriate keeping of bears close to restaurants and other private businesses and to reduce the number of cruelly kept bears through sustainable means by rescuing and relocating these animals to suitable wildlife rescue centers and sanctuaries.

In addition, FOUR PAWS supports the efforts of the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and the Environment to establish a bear rescue center close to the capital, Tirana. FOUR PAWS considers founding such a bear center as imperative to rescuing bears being kept in poor conditions, housing them in a suitable environment, and increasing awareness about the needs of these animals among the population.


WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED:

  • March 2016: FOUR PAWS signed a joint memorandum with the Albanian Ministry of Environment. The joint goal is to find a sustainable and animal-friendly solution for the many bears being kept in catastrophic conditions in Albania.  

  • August 2016: FOUR PAWS rescues the first bears in Albania,  restaurant bears Tomi, Gjina and Pashuk, and transfers them to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina. 

  • End of 2016: FOUR PAWS joins efforts (with other animal and environmental protection organizations and state institutions) to lobby for an end to the cruel keeping of bears in Albania.  

  • August 2017: A total of six bears rescued in Albania now live in FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries at Pristina in Kosovo , at BÄRENWALD Müritz in Germany, and the DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa in Bulgaria, a cooperation with the French Brigitte Bardot Foundation and FOUR PAWS. 

  • November 2017: FOUR PAWS submits over 420,000 signatures for a ban on the cruel keeping of bears in Albania to the new Albanian Minister of Tourism and the Environment in Tirana.  

  • June 2018: More than 25 bears are rescued in cooperation with Albanian authorities and other animal welfare organizations. These bears are transferred to wild animal sanctuaries abroad. There are only 10 bears remaining in private, not species appropriate captivity. 


WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON:

  • Improvement of living conditions for Albanian brown bears kept in non- species- appropriate captivity  

  • Introduction of better legal regulations in order to increase protection of wild bear populations in Albania  

  • Support for the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and the Environment in establishing a bear rescue center in Tirana  

  • Educational work and raising awareness for the needs of wild animals

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