Rescued from a cruel life in captivity

A miserable life behind bars

In Romania, bears were once illegally caught from the wild as cubs and kept in small cages in public places, such as restaurants, hotels, and petrol stations, to attract and entertain customers. Others were trapped in run-down zoos, often neglected in inadequate enclosures.

The squalid living conditions made the bears ill, stressed, and frustrated. Some would harm themselves by biting the bars of their cages or scratch the concrete floor, breaking their teeth and claws in the process.

Finally free to be bears

Since 2005, together with our local partner, Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP), we have helped envision, build and manage Europe’s largest bear sanctuary in Zarnesti in central Romania.

Libearty Sanctuary has made it possible to rescue captive bears from cruel conditions. Now, thanks to this work, very few bears are kept in such horrendous conditions in Romania and around 120 bears are enjoying a peaceful life in the sanctuary’s 170 acres of oak forest – finally safe from exploitation and free to be bears once more.

A second chance in life

Today, Libearty provides sanctuary to all bears in need, including bears who end up in a conflict with humans as they enter rural villages in search of food and rescued animals from other countries including war-torn Ukraine.

Such examples are Bolik the bear and Elza the wolf who were safely relocated from a tourist resort in Ukraine.

“We are so happy to offer Bolik and Elza a chance to live free in a peaceful and natural environment. For years, they lived in dirty little cages, and before they got here they were subjected to the fire and the sound of bombs. Now they can finally feel grass and earth beneath their paws, listen to the wind and the birds singing, and see the sky without bars. This is what all living creatures deserve.”
Cristina Lapis, President AMP