BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina is located 20 kilometres from Prishtina near the village Mramor. The land allocated for BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina by the Municipality of Prishtina has an area of 16 ha. Currently the built-up area is ca. 10 ha and provides an appropriate, lifelong home for 19 brown bears that were kept as restaurant bears in Kosovo and Albania. Three of the bears living here, were bought and kept illegally as pets by Kosovan families when they were only a few weeks old. They were discovered and confiscated by the Kosovan police and transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina in spring 2014. Here the bear cubs got the chance to grew up under professional supervision and in a species- appropriate environment. Thanks to the work of FOUR PAWS and BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, no bears have lived under private ownership since 2014.
When Kosovo banned the private keeping of bears in November 2010, we responded immediately by offering the government our support to house the bears in a species- appropriate, animal-friendly way.
Our experts learned 19 former "restaurant bears" were being kept in miserable conditions and urgently needed help.
After successful negotiations, we signed an exclusive contract guaranteeing FOUR PAWS would be the only organization allowed to keep brown bears in Kosovo.
Now, each of the former restaurant bears have a new home at our BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina.
visit our BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina
April to October: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
November to March: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Private keeping of bears banned in Kosovo
The idea to establish a sanctuary for brown bears in Kosovo was born in autumn 2010 after it became illegal to keep bears privately in Kosovo. At that time, there were 13 so- called “restaurant bears” living in tiny rotten cages next to restaurants for the purpose of luring customers. Due to the rising number of protests and inquiries from people concerned about these keepings, the Austrian Embassy in Kosovo became active and established a contact between FOUR PAWS and the Kosovan government. FOUR PAWS offered to support the government with finding a solution for the illegally kept brown bears in Kosovo, and agreed to establish a sanctuary for these bears. In September 2012, the land usage contract with the City of Prishtina was signed, and construction began immediately. In March 2013, the first restaurant bear Kassandra was confiscated by Kosovan authorities in the presence of FOUR PAWS and was transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina. Within the next two months, 12 other restaurant bears were saved and transferred to the sanctuary. By housing all Kosovan restaurant bears, FOUR PAWS ended this sad chapter of animal cruelty in Kosovo. In the meantime, BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina is also home to bears from Albania, which were kept under conditions that are contrary to animal welfare.
Our campaign #saddestbears now aims to initiate a ban on the private keeping of bears in Albania.
5 years BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina
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