On my recent trip to Romania I revisited the Libearty Bear Sanctuary on the 30th July 2014 to find the important rescue that everyone had been waiting for, had finally happened. Although they are not quite home yet……
When I was volunteering at the sanctuary earlier this year, the Millions of Friends Association were in discussions with Resita Zoo to take custody of a mother bear and her cubs from deplorable conditions.
Romania receives European funding to vastly improve conditions within it’s zoos. However the mother bear and cubs whilst still residing in small rusty cages after Resita zoo received huge funding to expand and upgrade their spaces, the zoo clearly chose not to use this money correctly. it was essential that AMP Bears achieved results quickly, as the two baby bears were still young enough to be rehabilitated back into the wild.
Last winter, Terra was 18 years old when she had the cubs in captivity and was kept out of sight. The cubs destined to be sentenced to imprisonment, AMP was about to perform the Rescue in April when I was at the sanctuary volunteering. Sadly I heard first hand from the charity how devastated they were when the zoo administration unlawfully demanded payment for the bears. AMP was not only unable, but unwilling to finance this unlawfulness and the environmental authorities were informed.
After AMP spent months fighting the bureaucracy behind rescuing these bears, there was now much media and public pressure on the zoo to give up the bears to the sanctuary. Unfortunately Resita Zoo had one last attempt at selling the bears by placing local adverts in newspapers but in less than a week the pressure mounted and they finally surrendered the animals.
However, on arrival of the rescue there was devastating news that one of the cubs was missing. Which can only be assumed to have been purchased. Pluto’s brother or sister was nowhere to be found and the zoo had covered its tracks.
The best news here is that mother bear Terra and her baby cub Pluto were finally rescued and taken to Libearty Bear Sanctuary. They are happy and comfortable for the short term and will soon have the peaceful enclosures of the sanctuary as their forever home.
I was lucky enough to meet them 2 weeks ago on my re-visit to the sanctuary and see them play and boy do they play! Although this temporary small cage appears sad, this is soon to be sorted and the sooner the better. However, much funding is required as the unfortunate situation is that the sanctuaries enclosures are not suitable for a mother and cub to join the others. A new enclosure is needed and the cost is vast. Although the Sanctuary is 70 hectares, the enormous enclosure’s house 78 happy bears but most from very traumatic pasts. Integrating these bears takes much insight, organisation and time, and the other smaller enclosures are for special cases like Max the blind bear and Ursula the Asiatic bear.
Tomorrowbear alongside the charity “Millions of Friends” and the mountaineers club, Clubul Montan Altitudine will be organising further fundraising treks – Bear Trek Transylvania to join next year. Please use the enquiry form to register your interest to receive news of the new dates for 2015. However, funding is needed now and should you be looking to support their work and help Terra and Pluto, follow this link to keep up to date with progress and the opportunity to donate.
The current conditions they live in although not ideal, are a “far cry” from how they were destined to continue their lives. The World Animal Protection and Amp Bears will resolve this soon with your help. We all wish Terra and Pluto the brightest and freest future. The Sanctuary truly offers this. My blog The Bear Sanctuary explains my time there and insight into the peace a true sanctuary genuinely offers our rescued animals.