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The situation in Albania

© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka

The saddest bears in Europe?

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.


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.


Often the physical and psychological toll this takes on the bears is very visible, and the bears can be found in a vegetated state.


And equally cruel, yet slightly less common outcome is for the bears  to be used as photo props on beaches and in cities and tourist places across the country. These bears are usually displayed by their owners on a short chain in combination with a nose ring where tourists  can take photos of themselves and the bear in exchange for a small amount of money.

FOUR PAWS estimates there to be around 50 bears suffering these appalling conditions across Albania.
© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka