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Seven bears released from BEAR ORPHANAGE Harghita


Seven young bears, among them Bamse, Covas and Vranceanca, haven been released into freedom in various areas of Romania this summer. Up to that point they had spent up to two years at the BEAR ORPHANAGE Harghita, where they had been cautiously prepared for an independent life. This, however, does not mark the ending of the FOUR PAWS care for the animals. Five of them have been equipped with GPS collars, which allow the team to monitor their movements and assure their well-being. The scope of their roaming bore a number of sensational surprises.

The monitoring results of the FOUR PAWS team show that Vranceanca has settled in well in her new habitat in Vrancea County, in Romania's South Eastern Carpatian range. The real surprises, though, were the vast movements of the male bears. Covas had been released in Covasna County (both bears had originally been named after the region they were found in), approximately 120 km away from the BEAR ORPHANAGE Harghita. From there he began migrating towards the Vrancea Mountains – the region where his former co-inhabitant was beginning her new life. Covas spent all summer in the picturesque hills, adapting quickly to his freedom and proving yet again that the methods used at the FOUR PAWS sanctuary are ideal for the cubs that are being raised there. As the weather got colder, Covas moved all the way back to his original release area. His wanderlust was not over, though.

The long trails of freedom

Covas continued to migrate, and to everyone's surprise, he began walking towards the remote BEAR ORPHANAGE Harghita where he grew up. He passed its area only by a 30 km radius – and kept walking still, headed north-west. By now, Covas is roaming countryside forests and fields, staying away from the nearby villages and barns, and apparently enjoying his current whereabouts.

Bamse, the third bear orphan introduced previously on this site, is part of a group who were relieved by a method called 'soft release', in which the gate to their enclosure was simply left open. The bears would occasionally return, benefit from their familiar surroundings, and eventually move on. Bamse's group ended up heading north, towards the big mountains, then continued in a westbound direction. Their 120 km of roaming are impressive already – but Covas, who accumulated twice that distance remained the big surprise of a successful FOUR PAWS release project.