About Bear Alert

Bear Alert is developed by Bears in Mind to keep track of the many captive bears, often living under horrible conditions, in order to help as many individuals as possible. Over time, Bears in Mind has gathered information on more than 400 of these bears in captivity. Some of them have already been rescued from their miserable existence and brought to a sanctuary or zoo where proper care and space could be offered. Other bears unfortunately died before we could we do anything. But most of them still await a better life.

Cooperation

Bears in Mind is not alone in its mission to provide better living conditions for captive bears. We work together with international animal welfare organizations such as WSPA, IFAW, Vier Pfoten, Animals Asia and Hauser Bears. Furthermore various nature conservation NGOs and partners of Bears in Mind like ARCTUROS, NACRES and PPNEA support this initiative. Captive bears in dire situations are reported frequently, either directly on this website through the Form or through the abovementioned organizations. Bear Alert acts as a central data source where incoming information on each case is checked and missing data and photos are added in order to obtain an updated overview of the current situation. Data is stored in the Bear Alert database and is accessible for registered users. Bears in Mind also cooperates with EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) if captive bears within EAZA member institutions are reported. Through this cooperation the welfare of captive bears in these zoos can be addressed more proactively and efficiently.

Help on its way!

When we are alerted of a bear in need we first consider short-term solutions in order to improve the bear’s predicament. Bears in Mind consults its partner NGOs abroad or tries to contact the owner of the bear directly. We provide suggestions on how to care properly for a bear in terms of diet, water and housing. Simple enrichment methods can be applied to help provide stress relief to the animal. For example, giving the bear tree branches and other objects to play with, or simply hiding food for the bear to find are all types of enrichment. These methods are cheap and easy to implement and can drastically improve the life of the bear. In other cases more drastic steps need to be taken. If the keeping of bears is illegal or the owner does not possess proper permits, a bear can be confiscated by the authorities and handed over to a zoo or sanctuary for relocation. Unfortunately, space to relocate bears is very limited. That’s why the abovementioned cooperation is so important and all options for placement are considered. The Bear Forest in the Netherlands is a sanctuary for several of these formerly mistreated bears. Another good example of a sanctuary for formerly mistreated bears is the Romanian Bear Sanctuary.

Success Stories

  • Russia
  • Location: Durov Theater, Moscow
  • Species: Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos)
  • Sex: male called Dadon
  • Owner: Durov Theater, circus
  • Condition: poor treatment and enclosure, good health
  • Current Status: Rescued and relocated to the Bear Forest in the Netherlands
  • Lebanon
  • Location: Beirut, abandoned zoo
  • Species: Brown bear (subspecies unknown)
  • Sex: two females called Kira & Big Mama
  • Owner: no owner
  • Condition: very poor enclosure, reasonable health
  • Current Status: Rescued and relocated to Karacabey Bear Sanctuary in Turkey
  • Bulgaria
  • Location: Bulgaria, near Sofia
  • Species: Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos)
  • Sex: male called Medo
  • Owner: circus
  • Condition: poor enclosure, reasonable health
  • Current Status: Rescued and relocated to the Large Carnivore Education Centre in Vlahi
  • Georgia
  • Location: Rustavi, abandoned zoo
  • Species: Brown bear (subspecies unknown)
  • Sex: three males called Igor, Duuk & Diesel
  • Owner: Rustavi Zoo
  • Condition: poor enclosure, reasonable health
  • Current Status: Rescued and relocated to the Bear Forest in the Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Location: Guadalest
  • Species: Brown bear (subspecies unknown)
  • Sex: Three males and a female called Bruce, Pepe, Pedro and Ronja
  • Owner: El Arca de Noé animal shelter
  • Condition: poor enclosure, poor health
  • Current Status: Rescued and relocated to the Bear Forest in the Netherlands
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  • Bulgaria
  • Location: Bulgaria, Kormisosh
  • Species: Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos)
  • Sex: Unknown
  • Owner: State
  • Condition: Very poor enclosure, reasonable health
  • Current Status: All 14 bears have been rescued and relocated to various sanctuaries in Europe. 4 of them now live in the Bear Forest.
  • Spain
  • Location: Spain, southern part
  • Species: Brown bear (subspecies unknown)
  • Sex: unknown
  • Owner: private
  • Condition: very poor
  • Current Status: All 4 bears have been rescued and relocated to a wildlife park in the Spanish Pyrenees.
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