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FOUR PAWS and Viva! Rescue Last Remaining Circus Bear in Poland


FOUR PAWS and Viva! Rescue Last Remaining Circus Bear in Poland

Bear Baloo will soon be at the BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz


SYDNEY, 6 July 2016 - After years of enduring inadequate living conditions and being forced to perform tricks to amuse visitors at the Polish circus “Vegas”, a team from FOUR PAWS and the Polish animal welfare organisation Viva! were finally able to rescue the last remaining circus bear, Baloo, in Poland. The team arrived in Pawlowice yesterday early in the morning and took charge of the bear after it was confiscated by the local police. Baloo had to live in a tiny cage with only a small outdoor enclosure; during his performances he was fed junk food to entertain visitors. Luckily, the circus owner was cooperative and the confiscation and transfer process of the bear went well. The bear is now safely accommodated in Zoo Poznan, a partner of FOUR PAWS. However, as there is not enough space at the zoo to keep the bear permanently, FOUR PAWS and Viva! are trying to gain permission from the local authorities to transfer Baloo to the BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz in Germany, which is run by FOUR PAWS.


Carsten Hertwig, a bear expert at FOUR PAWS said: “We are trying to find the best solution for Baloo and are gladly offering him a place at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz. Here Baloo would finally have the chance to live in a close-to-nature environment.”


FOUR PAWS is working closely with the Polish animal welfare organisation Viva! which has organised all the necessary legal steps to ensure the confiscation and a legal trial which will follow. Despite there being no general ban on wild animals in circuses in Poland, the circus “Vegas” has violated several Polish laws in regard to animal welfare and security standards. Anna Plaszczyk from Viva! said “Baloo has been living under harsh conditions in a small circus cage since May 2014. He lacked species appropriate food and proper veterinary care. Even the bear cage lacked in regards to security standards. All these facts should be enough to forbid the circus to own new bears in the future. In fact the legal proceedings in this case could even take up to two years.”


Since 2006 BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz has offered a species-appropriate home for bears from unsafe conditions. The sanctuary offers a habitat matching the natural environment of the bears: a diversified landscape of mixed woodland, meadow, clearings, hillsides, and a natural stream. These are optimal conditions for brown bears to rediscover their natural behaviour. 16 bears currently live in 16 hectares of open-air enclosure.


FOUR PAWS has been engaged in improving bear keeping standards in Poland since 2011. At that time the animal welfare organisation saved three animals from catastrophic conditions and transferred them to the BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz. In 2013 FOUR PAWS cooperated with Poznan Zoo to create a species appropriate home for three more bears previously kept in illegal conditions. By Autumn 2016 the large bear enclosure in Poznan Zoo will be significantly enlarged to house an additional four bears from Mini-Zoo Braniewo. Two of them have already been rescued and were transferred to Poznan Zoo by FOUR PAWS in April. Another resident of the Poznan Zoo is the orphaned bear cub Cisna, who was found in the mountains in south-eastern Poland at the beginning of April, 2016. FOUR PAWS will continue to improve the keeping conditions and support the medical care of mistreated bears in Poland in the future.