Freeing bears from captivity

We worked in Romania to free bears that are being kept in captivity – often in tiny, barren, concrete cages – by private owners and zoos.


Bears in captivity

Brown bears are one of the largest species of bear and are native to Romania.

Their natural habitat includes forests and open plains, where their home range can reach hundreds of square miles. Sadly, this is not the life that the captive bears of Romania’s private bear owners and private zoos experience. They are kept in inadequate enclosures, often on concrete floors that damage their delicate paws, and fed a nutritionally deficient diet. 

Bears should live in their natural environment, not be kept captive for people’s entertainment. 

Bear cubs playing at Zarnesti sanctuary, Romania

Proving a lifetime of care

Since 2005, World Animal Protection supported Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP) in creating the world’s largest bear sanctuary. Located near Zarnesti in central Romania, the sanctuary was created to provide a new home to these bear,s with the aim of ending the illegal practice of keeping bears in private and cruel captive conditions and ensuring the lifetime care. 

We gave advice on the design and management of the sanctuary and provided funding needed to build and manage the bear sanctuary and to care for the rescued bears. AMP has overseen the construction work and is also responsible for managing the bear sanctuary.

Watch a livestream of the sanctuary

Our work included:

  • Investigating the conditions bears are being kept in, by visiting the properties and zoos that are known to keep bears
  • Negotiating with the owners, to secure their agreement to surrender the bear(s) to us
  • Transporting bears to the safety of the sanctuary
  • Providing comprehensive veterinary care when the bear arrives at the sanctuary and for the rest of the bear’s life
  • Maintaining the sanctuary to ensure that the bears are kept in the best conditions possible
  • Providing nutritious food and a stimulating environment
  • Educating the public through visits to the sanctuary and school programs to communicate the importance of allowing wild animals to remain in the wild.
bear, Romania
Mother bear and cubs at Libearty sanctuary

Donate to protect bears

Your support can help to cover food and medical costs that protect bears at our partner sanctuaries.

Libearty bear sanctuary

Bear facts

Did you know there are eight species of bears including the Asiatic black bear, sloth bear, sun bear, and brown bear?

What we do

Working around the world to end the needless suffering of animals by inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better.

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