Even though the private keeping of brown bears has been illegal in Kosovo since 2010, international animal welfare organization Four Paws has recently received three seized bear cubs to take care of.
A six-week-old cub was seized by authorities last Wednesday after the family who bought her illegally started posting pictures on Facebook. They had bought her when she was only three weeks old and kept her on their flat.
On Thursday, two more bear cubs of similar age were discovered in the same region. It is believed they are all siblings.
The cubs are now living free on the Four Paws bear sanctuary in Prishtina, where they were named Ema, Oska and Ron.
In the wild cubs spend at least two years with their mother, but smugglers snatch them as young as possible to transport and sell them more easily.
“The cubs have had some cat milk and a bit of honey”, said Four Paws bear expert Carsten Hertwig. “But they seem very stressed, fearful and extremely weak – Ema doesn’t even weigh three kilos. We hope the rescue was in time, and that with our expert care the cubs can pull through and recover.”
“We’re calling for the animal dealers who sold little Ema to be found and brought to justice. There should also be legal action against the family, which bought and kept the bear illegally,” added Hertwig.
In 2013, the Prishtina bear sanctuary was built by Four Paws to be the new home for Kosovo’s 15 illegally-held restaurant bears. With the help of the Kosovo Environment Ministry, the police and KFOR, 13 of the 15 bears were rescued. Sadly, the other two were killed by their owner just before their planned rescue, and thrown onto a scrap heap.
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