Zărnesti Bear Reservation

95 bears have been rescued since the establishment of the “Libearty” Sanctuary. They all had lived a nightmarish life, full of abuses, in tiny cages compared to the space needs of such an animal, prisoners between rusted bars and concrete under their paws, instead of soil and grass. Until they got here, some did not know what it is like to climb a tree, to hide from the sun on hot days, or to enjoy deep enough water for splashing.

Many were kept in cages on terraces of restaurants, hotels, guest houses, chalets and gas stations, as a tourist attraction. There were also cases of “overwhelming love” of some people who, instead of letting them live in their natural environment, preferred to keep them behind bars in factories, monasteries or mini-zoos arranged in their own households.

Furthermore, many bears came to the Zărnesti sanctuary after Romania joined the European Union. The European legislation, which had to be adopted by Romania as well, led to the closure of several Zoos in the country as these did not provide the minimum conditions for a decent living of the animals they had.

Libearty is the largest reserve of brown bears in the world. It spreads over 69 hectares of oak forest, granted under concession for 49 years by the Zărnești City Hall, which became a partner in this project.

The sanctuary also boasts the rescue of four bears living in terrible conditions in other countries. The bears Maria and Marko were brought in from Albania, Misha came from Georgia, and Betsy is a bear saved from Texas, which came to us through the intervention of the Houston SPCA (USA).

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