"Four paws" rescue the last dancing bears in Serbia
On 28.01.2009 the FOUR PAWS animal welfatre charity successfully transferred the last three registered dancing bears from Serbia to Belitsa. In the park for dancing bears located in the Rila mountain, only 20 km away from the town of Bansko, the newcomers will be accommodated in a separate section especially designed for them. After all dancing bears registered within the territory of Bulgaria were accomodated in the park in 2007, the FOUR PAWS foundation turned to the neighbouring countries on the Balkans where bear keeping is still an occupation.
Today our efforts of the last several months to save the last dancing bears in Serbia were successfully awarded, says Carsten Hertwig, leader of the Competent center „Bears“ at the FOUR PAWS foundation. „We were ready to welcome the Serbian bears last spring, but we only received permission to transfer the animals at this moment due to the complex political situation and the large number of bureaucracy in this sphere. The transporting itself went smoothly. We only had problems on the eleven-kilometer long road between Belitsa and the park which is completely ruined.”
Both in Serbia and Bulgaria bear keeping is prohibited by law, but there is no asylum where the animals could be accomodated. Therefore, the Serbian government turned for help to FOUR PAWS whose Dancing Bears' Park with its surface of 120 000 sq.m. is the most famous bear asylum in Europe.
The newcomers in the park are called Seida, Milena and Natasja. Seida is approximately 7 years old. She was caught in Monte Negro after some hunters killed her mother. Seida's former owners once travelled across the Atlantic coast with her. Natasja is about 10 years old. She was born in a zoo in Macedonia. From there she was taken by her current owners who taught her to be a dancing bear. Milena is the oldest newcomer – between 28 and 31 years old. She also comes from Macedonia, in particular from the district of Bitolya, where she was caught after her mother had been killed. Seida, Milena and Natasija are in good health condition.
After their arrival at the park the bears were accommodated in a section especially intended for them, says Vasil Madolev, leader of the keepers' team. „The bears will at first only have access to 1/3 of the territory of the section so that they can easily get used to the new conditions. Later we will gradually introduce them to the rest 2/3 of the section. We have already developed individual nutrition programmes for the bears in accordance with their needs. We will constantly observe their physical state, especially Milena's. She is completely blind and too weak, therefore we are very concerned. Due to her advanced age and unstable health condition we expect that she has not more than a few months left. Nevertheless, it was worth transporting her, because the poor animal will spend its last few months in freedom.”
In May, when the animals will already be strong enough to endure general anaesthesia, FOUR PAWS will organize a medical examination which will, as always, be attended by world-class veterinary surgeons from Bulgaria and abroad.
source Four Paws Foundation