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Bear Sanctuaries: A Place of Respite for Exploited Animals

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Bear Sanctuaries: A Place of Respite for Exploited Animals

A number of bear sanctuaries around the world have become a peaceful place of refuge where any of the eight species of bears – from Brown Bears to Grizzly Bears – that have been rescued from years, and sometimes decades, of cruel abuse suffered whilst in captivity, can finally live their lives freely and safely within a natural forest habitat.

Sanctuary and Respite

These sanctuaries resemble the bears’ natural habitats as closely as possible, and they provide the animals with a secure forest environment, within which they can climb trees, forage for food, swim in natural pools, and even hibernate as they would in their original environment.

Many of the bears who roam these enclosures have tragic past histories: most of the time they have been illegally kept as pets or neglected in zoos, but some have been rescued from the illegal dancing-bear trade or the brutal Asian bear farming industry.

In fact, it was in response to the dancing-bear trade that the first sanctuaries were set up, in the early 1990s. Since then, numerous bear sanctuaries have been established in countries as diverse as Germany, Pakistan, China, and Turkey, in order to help wildlife groups and governments protect exploited bears.

A Right to Life

Bear sanctuaries recognise that each of these magnificent animals is an individual, whose quality of life truly matters. Many animal activists consider the sanctuaries to be a zenith of humanitarianism, showcasing how human beings have finally understood their duty to not only put an end to animal exploitation, but also to compensate, as much as they can, for the wrongdoing done to them.

Sanctuaries Around the World

There are numerous bear sanctuaries across the world, from the Brown Bears and Grizzly Bears protected in North America, to the Black Bear havens in Pakistan, the Brown Bear sanctuaries in Greece, and the Malayan Sun Bear’s refuge in Malaysia.

The sanctuaries’ staff members have a wide array of responsibilities. They monitor the animals’ health and behaviour; provide comprehensive veterinary treatment and extra food should the animals need it; create a stimulating environment; negotiate with the bears’ owners to ensure their safe handover to the enclosure; and are in charge of maintaining the sanctuary’s conditions to the best possible standards.

Educating for the Future of Bears

A number of bear sanctuaries welcome visits from the public and, in particular, school groups. In Romania, for example, numerous requests resulted in a sanctuary establishing a regular programme for school groups, where teachers, together with designated members of staff, educate the youngsters on the need to protect the Brown Bears and ensure their ongoing welfare.

A Valuable Resource

Bear sanctuaries acknowledge the right these magnificent animals have to a cruelty-free, dignified life and the importance of protecting them from those who would take advantage.

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