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FOUR PAWS brings an end to illegal private keeping of brown bears in Poland


Three Polish cage bears successfully transferred to new outdoor enclosure in Poznan

Three brown bears, Wania (22), Misza (22) and Borys (18) have made it: After years of being held in cages on the private land of an animal shelter the bears have been able to relocate to a species-appropriate environment, made possible by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS. Yesterday Wania, Misza and Borys finally moved into their new outdoor enclosure in Poznan Zoo.

© FOUR PAWS | Christiane Flechtner

The three bears lived at the animal shelter Korabiewice near Warsaw for 10 to 15 years. FOUR PAWS took responsibility for them in 2012, after the Polish animal welfare organisation Viva took over the animal shelter. To build one of the largest and most modern bear outdoor enclosures in Poland, FOUR PAWS cooperated with the zoo Poznan. In return for FOUR PAWS’ financial assistance in the construction of the outdoor enclosure, the zoo undertook the commitment to implement the high quality standards of FOUR PAWS concerning bear management in the construction and the later operation of the enclosure.


“Wania, Misza und Borys arrived just fine in their new home in Poznan. There they now have 1.2ha of open space, with woods, places to withdraw, and ponds, all specially constructed for the last privately-kept bears in Poland”, explains bear expert Carsten Hertwig from FOUR PAWS. “It was very touching to see how the old bears set their paws onto forest floor and were sniffing the fresh forest air for the first time.”

© FOUR PAWS | Christiane Flechtner

“The three bears had already suffered a cruel life in the circus before they ended up in the animal shelter. Originally this should have been a better life for them, but unfortunately it was quite the other way round: the bears were neglected, malnourished, and exhibiting extreme behavioural disorders. Their constant gnawing at the cage bars and their incorrect feeding had caused terrible damage to their teeth”, says Hertwig. ”Moreover, Borys is blind on one eye, probably because he was beaten during his time at the circus. Due to years of living on concrete floor Wania has got severe issues concerning his joints. We are happy that the old bears can now enjoy their twilight years in a species-adequate environment.”, conclude Hertwig and his team happily.


The zoo's director Lech Banacha from Poznan zoo: "With 120 hectares and so much woodland, our zoo has everything needed for an outdoor bear enclosure. We are therefore very happy to have started this great project together with FOUR PAWS. At last we can provide these long-suffering bears an environment that's right for them!" A further construction phase is planned for 2014 to accommodate four more Polish bears kept in a municipal zoo without a keeping permit. This will enable FOUR PAWS to finally bring an end to all illegal keeping of brown bears in Poland.

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