Bear Mascha shares a concrete cage with bear Felix.

Help for Bears in slovenia

FOUR PAWS aims to expedite an end to the private keeping of bears in Slovenia


Since 2004, it is forbidden for private persons in Slovenia to keep bears that were taken from the wild. Owners of bears that were obtained before 2004 and that could not be released back into the wild, could get approval from the competent Ministry to keep those individuals. That is why even today, years after the introduction of the legislation, 5 bears still suffer in small cages in Slovenia in private hands.

In line with our goal to end the illegal and inappropriate keeping of brown bears in Southeast Europe, in 2022 FOUR PAWS assessed the living conditions of the remaining privately kept bears in Slovenia. The findings were shocking: All bears are being kept in small concrete cages without access to species-appropriate food or care. They show strong stereotypical behaviour, which is caused by boredom and stress; and they have few possibilities if any to hide from visitors. None of the bears have access to enrichment to encourage their natural behaviours, keep them occupied, and stimulate their playfulness and curiosity. Some do not even have the possibility to bathe or climb. And what’s more – two bears need urgent medical treatment!

We want to end the suffering of these bears, but as the keepings are legal, we need cooperation from the bears' owners and support from the respective authorities. Therefore, FOUR PAWS has approached the Slovenian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Food to work together on a phase-out plan to expedite an end to the private keeping of bears in Slovenia. We hope that this will lead to at least some of these bears being relocated to a species-appropriate sanctuary, so they can rediscover their natural instincts and enjoy their remaining years!

These bears deserve better


A prisoner for 20+ years

Mici has been kept next to a restaurant in Žirovnica, Slovenia for roughly 21 years. Each day she stares through the same metal bars and ekes out a sad existence for the amusement of diners. She has lived alone in this cage since the death of her brother some years ago.


A lifetime on concrete

For nearly 30 years bear Mitko has been suffering in a barren and filthy concrete cage next to a restaurant on Mount Nanos in Slovenia. While tourists enjoy a good meal, accommodation & the beautiful landscape, Mitko lacks the basic necessities for a brown bear needs.

Mascha & Felix

High stress in a small space 

Mascha and Felix have been kept next to a restaurant in Kočevje for over two decades. The bears do not get along very well, but are forced to share the small concrete enclosure. Boredom and stress have caused strong stereotypical behaviour in both bears.


Needs urgent medical treatment 

Tim is kept in a tiny concrete cage at Zoopark Rozman. He paces and chews on the metal bars of his barren cage. His health status is very worrying as his body is covered in open and infected wounds. Tim needs urgent medical treatment, which he obviously does not get.
Bear in a cage

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