Twenty years on from building the world’s first bear sanctuary, together with local partner Asociatia Milioane De Prieteni (AMP) we opened the final enclosure at the Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary this week in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania.
Now the largest bear sanctuary in Europe, the Sanctuary will provide a home for the last twenty-five bears left in illegal captivity in Romania, which we plan to rescue over the next few years.
In 1992, we were the first organisation to launch a global campaign to rescue and protect bears from cruelty. We then went on to develop the world’s first bear sanctuary in Greece. We wanted to be able to provide a safe and natural space for bears rescued from captivity, to enjoy a natural environment - with room to climb, play, hibernate, eat and sleep. Since then, we have gone on to open bear sanctuaries with local partners in Europe and in Asia.
Romania is home to Europe’s largest bear population and currently has over 6000 brown bears living in the wild. In 2006, with partner AMP, we built Romania’s first bear sanctuary in Zarnesti. It currently houses 60 bears who have been rescued from illegal and cruel captive conditions.