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FOUR PAWS saves orphaned bear cub in Poland


Little Puchatka will find a new home in Poznan Zoo.


Animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and its cooperation partner Poznan Zoo, have decided to look after an orphaned bear cub that was brought to their attention while working to rehome two rescued captive bears in Poland.


Earlier this month,  the three-month old brown bear, which has been named Puchatka, was found by foresters in the mountains in south-eastern Poland and brought to the local wildlife rescue station. The whereabouts of her mother is unclear, yet it seems the cub was unattended for a long time and now needs proper care and a safe, appropriate home.


FOUR PAWS joined the process of saving the cub at a very early stage by establishing contact between a number of key stakeholders, including  Poznan Zoo, the local wildlife rescue station, scientists from Poland, Johanna Painer, an expert from from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and a number of FOUR PAWS’ own workers from its BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina in Kosovo, that have much experience caring for orphaned bears.


Since the reintroduction of the cub back into the wild is not possible, FOUR PAWS and Poznan Zoo have agreed to accommodate the small bear in the zoo. FOUR PAWS is supporting the construction of an enclosure and will also help to cover the costs of the cub’s accommodation.


FOUR PAWS bear expert Carsten Hertwig explains: “The temporary 300 m² enclosure will be built together with Poznan Zoo within the next two weeks. It will be equipped with a privacy shield, covering little  bear from the eyes of visitors, so the cub will stay in an, appropriate environment without stress. Later the bear will be relocated to a bigger enclosure appropriate for her long-term accommodation.”


At the moment the cub, which has been named Puchatka (“little bear” in Polish), is being kept in the Rehabilitation Centre for Protected Species in Przemyśl. The bear is located in a wooden house with enough straw to keep her warm and provide her with tactile stimulation from her surroundings. Puchatka is shy and avoids people, but visibly calms down when surrounded by certain vets she has become used to.


The small bear weighs just 4.5 kg currently, but the team is hopeful she will gain more weight in the coming weeks. The feeding schedule drafted by FOUR PAWS specialists includes regular, vast food distributions to help increase the cub’s weight.


Bear cubs like Puchatka usually rely on their mothers’ to keep them clean by licking their fur, however, as this is not possible for Puchatka, the vets are using wet towels to maintain her hygiene. Additionally, the vets have taken a test of the cub’s blood, the results of which will be available very soon and will enable the vets to take a closer look at Puchatka’s health condition.


FOUR PAWS has been seeking improvement in the keeping of brown bears in Poland for several years. In 2011 the animal welfare organisation saved three animals from horrendous conditions and brought them to the FOUR PAWS BEARSANCTUARY Müritz, North Germany. In 2013 FOUR PAWS cooperated with Poznan zoo to create a species appropriate home for Wania, Misza and Boris, while just two weeks ago FOUR PAWS helped to transport two more brown bears, Ewka and Gienia, to a large new enclosure in Poznan Zoo.


The bear enclosure will be extended by a further 1.5 hectares in time for autumn, to accommodate the last two illegally kept brown bears in Poland, who will then be rescued from their inappropriate keeping conditions. The extension will also provide the additional space needed to house Puchatka.