Bears suffer a number of abuses at the hands of humans. Many are captured to be used in cruel blood sports such as bear baying and baiting while others are killed by trophy hunters or confined to bile farms in Asia.
Seventy eight beautiful bears will never experience such cruel conditions ever again thanks to the rescue efforts of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Asociatia Milioane De Prieteni (AMP).
Since the early 1990s, the WSPA has worked to end cruelty toward bears and to ensure the safety of rescued bears.
As a WSPA press release reports, the nonprofit organization “set the original international standard for bear sanctuaries by designing and funding construction of the world’s first dedicated bear sanctuary in Greece, followed by sanctuaries in Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Laos and … Romania.”
The WSPA was also involved in ending bear dancing in Greece and Turkey in the mid 1990s.
Now, the WSPA, in collaboration with the AMP, have created Europe’s largest bear sanctuary – Libearty Sanctuary — in Zarnesti, Romania where 78 rescued bears have been moved into.
Each of these 78 bears were kidnapped from their wild homes and kept in illegal captivity, many “often subjected to terrible cruelty,” the WSPA reports.
With 78 bears housed at the new sanctuary, only eight more are still in need of rescue in Romania — what wonderful progress!
However, bears aren’t the only animals you’ll find at the sanctuary as wolves rescued from illegal captivity have also been provided with a home there.
One of the most notable wolf rescues was 10-year-old Luna, who arrived at the former Romania sanctuary in late 2013. Luna was saved from poor conditions in a local zoo where she was housed in a small enclosure with three other wolves until they were transferred to other zoos and she was left alone.
Once Luna finally arrived at the sanctuary, staff noticed she did not enjoy her time with other wolf residents and so they decided to try putting her in with one of the older bears at the sanctuary – Prince Charles – who, the WSPA describes, is “old and also grumpy.”
“Surprisingly, Charles perked up when he had a new friend and Luna also seemed to enjoy this new company. Now both animals enjoy each other’s company and are often seen sitting next to each other and also eating together,” the WSPA reports.
Check out Luna and the sanctuary’s bears enjoying their new home in the photos below!
Lead image source: Petrut Calinescu for the WSPA