Vienna, 6 October 2022 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has teamed up with fitness influencer Rebecca Louise and invited her to its bear sanctuaries and cooperation projects in Switzerland, Kosovo and Vietnam. The British-born fitness entrepreneur reaches hundreds of thousands of social media followers worldwide with her workout videos and life updates. The collaboration aims to highlight the sustainable approach of FOUR PAWS for providing life-long, species-appropriate homes for rescued wild animals that cannot be released into the wild. Most of the bears rescued by FOUR PAWS have been the victims of horrible maltreatment – they were exploited as circus, dancing or selfie bears, abused for their bile, sold in the illegal wildlife trade and kept in chains and tiny cages.
First stop for Rebecca Louise were the European bear projects of FOUR PAWS: Arosa Bear Sanctuary in alpine Switzerland, which is run in cooperation with the Arosa Bears Foundation, and BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina in Kosovo. Later this year she will also visit BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh in Vietnam. During her visits, Rebecca will not only create social media content for FOUR PAWS but also her own channels. She will get a behind the scenes look at the daily life of the bears at the sanctuaries and learn about sustainable and animal welfare-friendly tourism. In many holiday destinations, wild animals are exploited for entertainment and put on display for unnatural interactions with humans. FOUR PAWS aims to raise awareness for travellers to where possible enjoy wild animals in their natural habitat, rather than in captivity, and only support genuine sanctuaries.
Since 1998, FOUR PAWS has rescued over 200 bears and provided a safe and species-appropriate home for them. Currently, almost 150 of these animals live in one of its five own bear sanctuaries and three cooperation projects where they are cared for with expertise and compassion. Throughout Europe, hundreds of bears still live in inappropriate or cruel keeping conditions.
“It gives me so much joy to see all these bears living in the spacious and natural surroundings of the sanctuaries, and it also makes me extremely sad to hear about their tragic past. I’m all about a positive mindset and overcoming hurdles, so what I can identify myself most with when it comes to the work of FOUR PAWS is the hands-on, solution-oriented approach of providing animals in need with a long-term home. These bears have suffered so much, and dedicated people never gave up on them. I’m beyond happy to raise awareness among my community and contribute to saving even more animals from cruel fates."
Rebecca Louise, who has been supporting FOUR PAWS since 2020
“We are continuously working to provide the best care possible to the animals in our sanctuaries. They operate under highest quality standards, providing high-level care by wildlife experts to make sure the animals can recover from their past. We would like to thank Rebecca Louise for shining a light on the work of our dedicated teams and on our animals, and for spreading the word,” says Carsten Hertwig, Director of the Sustainable Sanctuaries Department at FOUR PAWS.
Species-appropriate homes for rescued bears
In many areas around the world, bears were long feared as dangerous and therefore hunted to near extinction. Actually, bears in the wild are solitary and peaceful omnivores that spend up to 16 hours a day looking for food and roaming around in fixed territories. The work of FOUR PAWS on bears focuses on the welfare of captive brown bears in Europe and Asiatic black bears in Vietnam, as well as rescues from crisis, conflict and disaster zones.
FOUR PAWS has achieved numerous successes in Europe, including ending the keeping of bears in various forms of entertainment and cruel practices including circuses, dancing or restaurant attractions and bear baiting, in Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Ukraine. In Vietnam, FOUR PAWS supports the government in ending bear farming and also takes in bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.
The bears in the care of FOUR PAWS all come from different backgrounds, and their care is tailored not only to make sure they can recover physically and mentally from their past suffering but also to make their individual personalities flourish. Many of them never experienced a species-appropriate life, or even grass under their paws before their rescue. Now they can roam around their spacious enclosures, munch on their favourite treats, splash around in the ponds, and live among conspecifics.
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org