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The end of illegal private keeping of brown bears in Poland

We successfully transferred three Polish cage bears to their new outdoor enclosure in Poznan.

© FOUR PAWS | Sabine Steinmeier

Three brown bears, Wania (22), Misza (22) and Borys (18) have made it! After years of being held in cages on the private land of an animal shelter the bears have been able to relocate to a species-appropriate environment. Wania, Misza and Borys finally moved into their new outdoor enclosure in Poznan Zoo.


The three bears lived at the animal shelter Korabiewice near Warsaw for 10 to 15 years. We took responsibility for them in 2012, after the Polish animal welfare organisation Viva took over the animal shelter. We cooperated with the zoo Poznan to build one of the largest and most modern bear outdoor enclosures in Poland. In return for our financial assistance in the construction of the outdoor enclosure, the zoo undertook the commitment to implement our high quality standards concerning bear management.

A new life

Wania, Misza und Borys arrived just fine in their new home in Poznan. There they now have 1.2ha of open space, with woods, places to withdraw, and ponds, all specially constructed for the last privately-kept bears in Poland. The old bears were able to set their paws onto forest floor and sniffing the fresh forest air for the first time.

VIER_PFOTEN_2013-10-29_102.JPG VIER_PFOTEN_2013-10-29_112.JPG VIER_PFOTEN_2013-10-29_116.JPG VIER_PFOTEN_2013-11-04_006.JPG Wania_und_Misha_6.jpg

A painful past

© FOUR PAWS | Christiane Flechtner

The three bears had already suffered a cruel life in the circus before they ended up in the animal shelter. Originally this should have been a better life for them, but unfortunately it was quite the other way round: the bears were neglected, malnourished, and exhibiting extreme behavioural disorders. Their constant gnawing at the cage bars and their incorrect feeding had caused terrible damage to their teeth. Moreover, Borys is blind on one eye, probably because he was beaten during his time at the circus. Due to years of living on concrete floor Wania has got severe issues concerning his joints.


We are happy that the old bears can now enjoy their twilight years in a species-adequate environment. A further construction phase is planned for 2014 to accommodate four more Polish bears kept in a municipal zoo without a keeping permit. This will enable us to finally bring an end to all illegal keeping of brown bears in Poland.