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The last circus bears in Serbia were confiscated


FOUR PAWS team from Bulgaria assisted the authorities. One of the bears is expected in Dancing Bears Park in Bulgaria

© FOUR PAWS | Hristo Vladev

At the beginning of this week the last three circus bears in Serbia were confiscated by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and the international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS. Two of the confiscated bears, a brother and a sister from a brown bear type at the age of 12 years, are accommodated at the zoo in Belgrade. The third one, which is a 10-year-old hybrid between brown and white bear, is at the zoo situated in Palić which is at the border with Hungary. When their documents are ready, the bears are expected to be accommodated by FOUR PAWS in our bear parks in Mueritz (Germany) and Belitsa (Bulgaria). 

Since 2009 there is a ban in Serbia on the use of wild animals in performances, but the owner of the circus “Crown” from the northwestern city Srbobran managed to keep 24 wild animals, which included, except the three bears, a tiger, a lion, a jaguar, macaques and wolves – all were kept under extremely unsuitable conditions. At the time of confiscation most of these animals were not found and the owner of the circus refused to give information about their fate.     

© FOUR PAWS | Hristo Vladev

FOUR PAWS team, consisting mainly of Bulgarian members of the organization, anaesthetized the three bears and examined their general condition on site. According to Dimitar Ivanov, manager of Dancing Bears Park in Bulgaria, the overall condition of the bears is good, despite the poor conditions in which they have spent the last years: “The two brown bears lived in a cell with an area of about 25 sq. meters. Some time ago one of them lost its front paw as a result of an injury. The third bear, which is larger, lived since its arrival at the circus in 2006 in a single cell with an area of only 4 sq. meters. That bear has a serious injury to the jaw, which resulted in losing part of the teeth and the tongue. We expect that besides the physical injuries the animals will have serious mental problems because of the small cells they were occupying. We microchipped them, vaccinated them against rabies and took blood samples. Hopefully, soon all the formalities will be completed in order to shelter these animals in the parks of FOUR PAWS“.

© FOUR PAWS | Hristo Vladev

Although FOUR PAWS do not have an office in Serbia, for many years we have been active there, mainly through the representatives in Bulgaria. In 2007, a team of the organization had a series of neutering projects in the central part of the country. In 2009 the last Serbian dancing bears were sheltered in the park in Bulgaria and in 2012 three lions from a private closed zoo near Novi Pazar were transported to the big cats sanctuary in South Africa Lionsrock. In the spring of 2014 an international team of FOUR PAWS with strong Bulgarian participation assisted those areas affected by the massive floods.