Three-month-old bear cub rescued after advertised for €1,100 sale

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 29, 2017 16:32

Three-month-old bear cub rescued after advertised for €1,100 sale

TIRANA, May 29 – A three-month-old bear cub that had been trapped in mountain village outside Tirana has been rescued from captivity after being illegally advertised for sale at a popular portal for €1,100.

Forest authorities say they acted to rescue the bear cub after they were notified the cub was being offered for sale after being found by a farmer in Shengjergj village at Mount Dajti, some 30 km off Tirana.

The cub will be temporary accommodated at the Tirana zoo until authorities decide if he can be resettled to its natural habitat.

“Rei was listed for sale on a public site, an illegal act that was stopped today with the immediate help and quick intervention of the State Inspectorate,” said the Bears Albania watchdog.

Earlier this year, Henk and Eso, a malnourished bear couple found caged near a hotel in Puka, northeastern Albania, were transferred to a safe place in Tirana, where they will be regularly fed and treated properly until a forever home is found for them.

Local authorities and animal welfare organizations have been receiving assistance by Four Paws, a Vienna-based international animal welfare organization, which last year pushed Albanian authorities to enforce a ban on the cruel keeping of bears, leading to more than a dozens bears and cubs being rescued from captivity.

Four Paws believes that Albania is currently home to some of the saddest bears in Europe.

“Brown bear cubs are regularly snatched away from their mothers in the wild and traded illegally throughout the country to be exploited as tourist attractions or kept as pets in terrible conditions by people who have no idea how to meet the needs of these beautiful and complex wild animals,” says the Vienna-based animal welfare.

An estimated 180 to 250 brown bears currently live in the wild in Albania while another 50 are believed to be held captive, mainly for entertainment purposes.

“The cubs are usually sold either privately as pets or to small businesses. In both cases, the common theme is that profit is the priority, and the welfare of the bears does not factor at all. Most of the bears can then look forward to a life of miserable servitude, trapped in tiny cages as ‘tourist attractions’ at restaurants, petrol stations or hotels as a way of luring customers,” says the Four Paws welfare whose online petition about saving Albanian bears has been signed by about 300,000 people.

Back in 2016, Bear Tomi made international headlines because of the miserable conditions he lived caged in a restaurant in northern Albania before being rescued.

The UK’s Daily Mail online published two articles featuring pictures of how Tomi, the caged brown bear, was kept in a restaurant in the Albanian mountains as a tourist attraction and relied on sweets and crisps from visitors, begging with outstretched paws.

The brown bear, currently in danger of extinction, is a protected species by Albanian legislation, while captivity for commercial purposes is banned.

Albania has banned hunting for the past couple of years and imposed a new five-year moratorium to put an end to uncontrolled and illegal hunting, which has decimated wildlife populations in the country over the last two and a half decades after the collapse of the communist regime in the early 1990s.



Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 29, 2017 16:32