Being kept in two unlicensed zoos for decades, Suzana and Bruno experienced unimaginable neglect and abuse. Their days were endless with throngs of loud gawking visitors parading in front of their small cages, and nowhere to hide. The two brown bears were among the last five inappropriately kept brown bears in Croatia. With the introduction of a new animal protection law in January 2019, FOUR PAWS was finally able to free the bears from the tiny cages they had been kept in.
"Suzana was less stressed than expected before the anaesthesia and the rescue went smoothly. We are confident that she will soon recover. Bruno's health, however, is not as good. He is clearly underweight for a bear of his stature and his canines are in a very bad condition. This in combination with his poor health and presumably old age, makes it important to monitor him closely over the next few months."
Veterinarian Marc Gölkel
Finally Suzana and Bruno are safe! After a very intense and emotional rescue, the two European brown bears were transported by the bear ambulance to Bear Refuge Kuterevo, a cooperation partner of FOUR PAWS in Croatia.
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New chapters lie ahead
Suzana and Bruno received vital veterinary care from our team. Once recovered, these beautiful bears will be released into their natural outdoor enclosures to experience grass beneath their paws – possibly for the first time in their lives. Bear Refuge Kuterevo on the western coast of Croatia will make sure that Suzana and Bruno receive all the care they need. While another transfer might prove to be too exhausting for senior bear Bruno, FOUR PAWS is planning to bring Suzana to one of its own bear sanctuaries in the future.
Health conditions underline former suffering
After over 30 years in captivity, 40-year-old Bruno is in a particularly bad condition. He is very underweight, and his teeth are completely rotten. We suspect that poor Bruno was in too much pain to eat and was slowly wasting away. The decades of confinement have left their marks on 20-year-old Suzana as well. She shows severe stereotypical behavior such as paw baiting and pacing.
#SaddestBears Campaign: End Bear Suffering in Europe
Many bears in Europe spend their lives in agonizing surroundings, being kept in tiny cages near restaurants or hotels, where they are exhibited as tourist attractions. The cramped, inappropriate living conditions are very stressful for the animals both physically and mentally. FOUR PAWS intends to put an end to the cruel keeping of bears in Croatia as part of its 'Saddest Bears' campaign. Read more: www.saddestbears.four-paws.org