site.btaCaptive Bear from Skopje Finds New Home in Bulgaria's Bear Sanctuary

Captive Bear from Skopje Finds New Home in Bulgaria's Bear Sanctuary
Captive Bear from Skopje Finds New Home in Bulgaria's Bear Sanctuary
Sliven Nachev/Four Paws Photo

The bear sanctuary near the southwestern town of Belitsa has a new inhabitant, six-year-old bear Iva who lived in captivity in Skopje. After her private owner agreed to hand her over to the Four Paws foundation, last week Iva was safely transported to her new home in Bulgaria where she is currently undergoing adaptation.

Found abandoned as a cub in the Republic of North Macedonia, the bear was cared for by a private owner in Skopje but in conditions inappropriate and risky for the animal, Four Paws said in a press release. Iva cannot be reintroduced in the wild but at the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary she now has a home as close to her natural one as possible. 

Belitsa Bear Sanctuary manager Dimitar Ivanov told BTA that Iva is being kept in a separate enclosure from the other bears as part of a 30-day quarantine period. She is getting to know her caretakers in order to learn to trust them and to expect food at regular intervals from them. This is the period during which her character will be accessed in light of her forthcoming introduction to the sanctuary’s other inhabitants.  

Among them is Teddy, a male bear who was housed with Iva in Skopje until 2017 and rescued by Four Paws in 2020. Due to the hibernation season approaching, the long-awaited reunion of the two bears will have to wait until the spring of 2023, the foundation said.

Iva’s rescue is part of Four Paws’ continuing efforts to stop the illegal capture of brown bears in the Republic of North Macedonia within the #SaddestBears campaign, which aims to help bears being held captive in poor conditions in Southeast Europe. 

The Belitsa Bear Sanctuary (formerly the Belitsa Dancing Bears Park) encompasses an area of 120,000 sq m some 12 km away from Belitsa, an area that is a natural home to the brown bear, a protected species in Bulgaria. The park was established back in 2000 by the Four Paws global animal welfare organization jointly with France’s Brigitte Bardot Foundation to provide a sanctuary for the re-adaptation of bears forced to dance for entertainment. All registered dancing bears in Bulgaria have since been saved. After Iva’s arrival, there currently are twelve female and eight male bears at the sanctuary, among them rescues from Serbia, Albania, Romania, and North Macedonia.

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By 05:46 on 09.12.2022 Today`s news

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