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2012 Achievements

Six orang-utans released in Borneo


After years of preparation, in 2012 the moment had finally come: six young orang-utans, all raised in the orphanage in Samboja, have been released into a protected area in East Kalimantan. The orphan facility is run by the BOS Foundation and has been supported by FOUR PAWS for a long time. Under scientific observation, the animals now get to show what they have learned and are coping increasingly well with their independent life. As the destruction of the Indonesian rain forests continues in the wake of creating palm-oil monocultures, the successful release of the apes was a much longed for ray of hope.

Aid for horses in Romania


After the strength-sapping rescue of wild horses in the Danube Delta in 2011, the team in Romania concentrated mainly on rescue missions this year. This is how the badly injured foals Jake and Sami, as well as the donkey Fane were saved. Nonetheless, support continued for the wild horses re-released into their original habitat. Many animals from the group were still in the care of FOUR PAWS and were all successfully put up for adoption. Also in other countries the work with horses continues.

Worldwide SAC success – 7700 dogs saved in the Ukraine alone


The FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care projects were moving ahead in the core countries Bulgaria and Romania – thousands of dogs now have a better and safer future. Huge progress was particularly made in Bucharest, where, in addition, the therapy project Dogs For People was expanded. International missions took place in India, Sudan and the Ukraine. In the country co-hosting the EURO 2012 large teams were assisted by many volunteers from all over Europe and remained active there for months. The results are particularly impressive in the Ukraine: 7700 dogs were neutered and receive medical care. The way citizens and politicians look upon the stray dogs has changed noticeably in the course of this major project.

LIONSROCK I: New enclosures for older animals


The South African big cat sanctuary has taken a crucial step towards doing full justice to its own philosophy. From now on, older animals with chronic ailments can be kept in a new area, in which they are supervised more intensively and which correspond to their needs much better. None of the big cats in the care of FOUR PAWS may ever suffer in old age. But in the new section, lions such as Emma and Xena, both from a pack that arrived early on from Austria, will be able to have a few additional good years.

LIONSROCK II: New inhabitants at the big cat sanctuary

Several big cats without a future in Europe have been brought to LIONSROCK in 2012. Through an elaborate transfer effort, three lions from Serbia, which were confiscated by the authorities, came to a new life. Also two tigers from Germany and other lions from Romania and South Africa can now recover from years of suffering under the best possible conditions and will be cared for by the experienced team on site for the rest of their lives.

Bears: Poland and Kosovo join the ban on private husbandry


For many years, FOUR PAWS has pursued the goal of continuously improving the way wild animals in Europe are kept. An important part of this is the legal ban of private husbandry, which has since been put into practise by many countries. Now this is also the case in Poland and Kosovo. FOUR PAWS was active in both states in 2012: while a new sanctuary for confiscated brown bears is under construction in Kosovo, a unique cooperation has evolved with the zoo of the city of Poznan. Furthermore, last three privately owned bears were rescued in an emergency mission.

FOUR PAWS rescues bear cub Nastia


People around the world were shocked by the FOUR PAWS video showing the Ukrainian bear cub Nastia being brutally snatched from her mother Masha. The Luts’k Zoo, where Nastia was born, illegally sold her to animal traders. FOUR PAWS went to great lengths to rescue Nastia and bring her back to her mother – succeeding just a few weeks later. Together with the Ukraine authorities, we confiscated the little bear bringing Nastia back to Luts’k where, sadly, her newly pregnant mother would not accept her.


Conditions for animals in the Luts’k Zoo are poor and we went about searching a new species appropriate home for rescued brown bears. After an exhaustive we found it; an area10,000 m² big in the region of Zhytomyr, 159 km west of Kiev. On 27th November, after intensive construction works, the new FOUR PAWS Bear Rescue Centre “Nadiya” was complete and Nastia was transferred to her new paradise. Since then, she has been enjoying her new life with lots of space to play, a pond to swim in and trees to climb on… The only drop of bitterness is that even after tough negotiations, the Luts’k Zoo would not release Masha. However FOUR PAWS, represented by Dr. Amir Khalil, head of the Ukraine project, will not give up. The issue continues to be negotiated on a political level.

FOUR PAWS bear parks


At the BEAR PARK Müritz, brown bears Siggi and Balou have found a new home. Even in Germany, the way bears are kept is often substandard, which makes the work of the German FOUR PAWS bear protection centre even more relevant. Also the bear parks in Austria and Bulgaria, BEAR PARK Arbesbach and DANCING BEAR PARK Belitsa, have done much in 2012 in order to offer a life under the best possible conditions to the animals in their care.

The mobile vet unit in Kenya rescues numerous elephants


The work of the dedicated team of the mobile FOUR PAWS animal clinic in the national parks of Tsavo and Amboseli is getting more complex each year. The climate conditions have changed, leading to longer dry spells and thus a new rise in poaching incidents. Thanks to their tireless endeavour a large number of elephants and other wild animals were saved – most of them had to be freed from snare traps and treated for arrow wounds. In addition, the Kenya Wildlife Service dealt an important blow against poachers this November.

EGS: Centre for owls and birds for prey


The cooperation between FOUR PAWS and the EGS has gone into its fourth year. Hundreds of wild birds, mostly foundlings and orphans, live at this care and rehabilitation centre for owls and birds of prey in Austria, and are, if possible, prepared for a life in freedom. During the program the birds live in social groups, which allows them to be kept in large aviaries. For many endangered bird species in Central Europe, this unique program is of great importance.

"Show Skin Not Fur” aims at consumers and retailers


The new campaign draws attention to the suffering of millions of foxes, minks and other animals in the production of fur fashion. Since 2012, FOUR PAWS is the official domestic representative of the international Fur Free Retailer (FFR) programme in Austria, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria and South Africa. The initiative provides information about fashion brands that have committed themselves, in writing, to no longer use real fur. This helps consumers in finding guaranteed fur-free fashion and take conscious purchase decisions. Significant legal progress was made in Switzerland and in the Netherlands.

Campaign against cage eggs continued internationally

The fight against laying batteries is one of the oldest FOUR PAWS campaigns – and contributed significantly to the EU-wide ban of this keeping method. The use of cage eggs in secondary products remains problematic, however. In 2012, there was quite a bit of progress in this area: popular brands such as Toblerone and manufacturers such as Ferrero, Wojnar and C&C Pfeiffer will relinquish eggs from laying factories.

In focus: Down and meat from force-fed geese


Also the long-term campaign involving the production of foie gras achieved noteworthy success. In Germany, campaign efforts targeted “The North Face” and “Patagonia”; both companies use down from foie gras factories. In Austria, another case of false labelling was disclosed, in which low quality goose meat, a by-product of force-fed liver production, was offered as quality food.

How pigs are kept: Call for a ban of farrowing crates

In the field of meat production, the keeping of pigs remains a big issue for FOUR PAWS campaigners, due to particularly poor standards. A call for a ban of farrowing crates has been issued in 2012. Consumers are increasingly aware of the bad conditions and pressure on the industry is increasing.

Minimum requirements for rabbit farms


A ban of cage rabbit farms was already achieved by FOUR PAWS in Austria in 2008. But in Germany, 2012 was still marked by the struggle for minimum requirements for fattened livestock. Retailer “Galeria Kaufhof” became the object of repeated protest. In November, FOUR PAWS introduced a quality label for rabbit meat from certified barn keeping.

Puppy farming


The trading with puppies from “breeding factories” in Ireland and Wales was also still on the agenda in 2012. Years of educational campaigning has made an impact on animal lovers and many people now react with much more caution to dubious classified ads. But still, many animals are being offered on the internet. .

Hope for wild animals in circuses

In many FOUR PAWS countries the continuous advocacy of a circus without wild animals has led to legal bans, for instance in Austria and Hungary. Now such a legislative project was also embedded in the coalition treaty in the Netherlands. In Germany, an amendment of the animal welfare law was enacted, which will result at least in a ban for particular species. Protest campaigns resumed against the living conditions of wild animals in several of Germany’s largest circus companies.

Campaign for cruelty-free cosmetics

Various activities centred around preventing a delay in the EU-wide ban on animal testing for cosmetics. In addition, efforts to inform consumers on how they can choose cruelty-free cosmetic products were intensified. 100 delegates and staff members of the European Parliament participated in a “beauty day” event in Brussels, which was part of the multi-national “Kiss Animal Cosmetics Goodbye” campaign.