Advertisement

natureNaturenatureanimals
clockPUBLISHED

Brown Bear Given Beer And Junk Food By Tourists Is Saved From Captivity In Albania

author

Tom Hale

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

A shocking photograph obtained by Four Paws showing a person feeding Tomi the bear alcohol. Four Paws

The thick forests and mountains that cover a large portion of Albania are home to around 250 brown bears. Unfortunately, the relatively easy access to the bears also means many are kept as pets, street performers, tourist attractions, and sideshows in restaurants.

After a massive campaign to help the plight of these animals, the Albanian Ministry of Environment confirmed this week they had rescued a brown bear called Tomi from a restaurant. The five-year-old bear was kept in a small cage next to the toilets of the restaurant in Ulza, a village around 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of the capital Tirana. The bear was fed junk food, beer, and scraps of foods by passing tourists who posed with him for photographs and selfies. The bear was found to be self-harming due to stress and lack of stimulation.

Advertisement

Carsten Hertwig, a bear expert at Four Paws, said in an emailed statement: “Tomi is in a very poor state. His teeth are badly damaged, and he has injuries to his upper body. It’s high time he was brought out of this horrible place."

The bears were examined and microchipped on site during the rescue mission. Four Paws/Hazir Reka

The following day it was announced Pashuk the bear was also rescued from the same owner. This bear had been tied up for so many years his skin had grown over the chain.

After the bears were assessed and vaccinated by Dr Frank Goeritz and a team of vets, they were transferred to a temporary home at Tirana Zoo where they received more medical attention. The aim is to permanently relocate the bears to a Four Paws sanctuary in Prishtina, Kosovo.

Advertisement

The rescue was in part thanks to Four Paws' “Save The Saddest Bears” campaign, which raises awareness of the bear situation in Albania. Although it is technically illegal to keep wild bears for exhibition purposes, Four Paws are running a petition asking the Albanian environment minister to extend and enforce these laws. The charity is also now working with the Albanian government to help the bears.

Lefter Koka, the Albanian Minister of Environment, said in a statement: “First, we want to focus on ending the most cruel forms of bear keeping in Albania. There are many bears abused to attract tourists, for example in tiny cages near restaurants, on beaches or near famous sights. We want to strengthen the image of Albania as a responsible tourism destination, where cruelty towards animals has no legitimate place.”

Tomi and Pashuk are just a couple out of the hundreds of bears that live under these conditions worldwide. A field survey by the Transborder Wildlife Association in 2009 found at least 21 bears in Albania alone being used by restaurants to draw in tourists. Four Paws estimates there could be many as 80 bears still being privately kept in cruel and cramped conditions.

Tomi's damp and dirty cage seen just as before authorities came to his rescue. Four Paws/Hazir Reka

Advertisement

Tomi being rescued from his cage. Four Paws/Hazir Reka


ARTICLE POSTED IN

natureNaturenatureanimals
  • tag
  • bear,

  • animals,

  • conservation,

  • Animal Welfare,

  • wildlife,

  • animal cruelty,

  • brown bear,

  • cage,

  • Albania

FOLLOW ONNEWSGoogele News