Bear orphans Ema, Oska and Ron return to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina
© FOUR PAWS International
For the past two months, bear orphans Ema, Ron and Oska have lived in a large enclosed area of 1.2 hectare in Sharri National Park in the south west of Kosovo, gaining a lot of experience and enjoying the open space, in preparation for an eventual reintroduction into the wild.
However, with a heavy heart FOUR PAWS has decided to discontinue their reintroduction prematurely and transfer the three young bears back to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina. The reason for this decision is their low level of fear towards people. Despite the effort of the two animal keepers at the National Park to keep their contact with the animals at a minimum and keep visitors away, unexpected incidents occurred on several occasions due to insufficient management at the National Park, for example, wild camping, car rallies and illegal logging. All these incidents led the three bears to become accustomed to the proximity to people. Therefore, we fear that if we were to release Ema, Ron and Oska into the wild after 1.5 – 2 years, as was originally planned, they would immediately seek closeness to people and human settlements and become an easy prey for poachers.
The three bears will live at BEAR SANCTUARY Pristhina from now on
We have already communicated this decision to the Kosovar Ministry of Environment and pointed out once more that the Republic of Kosovo is not suited for the reintroduction of brown bears because of it’s high settlement density and low number of natural reserves. Nevertheless, the FOUR PAWS bear experts spared no effort in enabling Ema, Ron and Oska to live a life of freedom. They found the opportunity to reintroduce them in Sharri National Park – unfortunately without success. From now on Ema, Ron and Oska will live together in a large enclosure at BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina.
Trained handling of bear orphans in Kosovo
We are currently working together with the Kosovar Ministry of Environment to develop a strategy for dealing with the country’s bear orphans properly going forward. We assume that orphan bear cubs will continue to appear in Kosovo in the coming years.