London, 27 May 2022 - Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS successfully transferred two brown bears from Skopje Zoo in North Macedonia to Arosa Bear Sanctuary in Switzerland after a three-day-journey.
18-year-old bear siblings Sam and Jamila had spent their lives separately in zoo enclosures that were only a few hundred square metres in size. Despite the enclosure featuring natural soil and vegetation, the bears did not always have access to water and overall, there was little variety and activity on offer for them. With their homes in need of complete renovation, it was decided that the bears should be relocated.
FOUR PAWS agreed to take them in and provide them with a new home right in the middle of the stunning wilderness in the Swiss alps.
An experienced team from FOUR PAWS and Arosa Bear Sanctuary along with a wildlife veterinarian were on hand to health check the bears and see through the successful transfer.
Once the bears were checked over by the veterinarian and on board the vehicle, they departed on the journey of their lives. Covering 2,000 kilometres over some 60 hours and through four countries, Jamila and Sam arrived safely at Arosa Bear Sanctuary on 20 May.
"The elaborate transport preparations, which were planned down to the last detail, have proven their worth. We are extremely happy that everything went so well and that the bear siblings have finally arrived at their forever home,"
Pascal Jenny, President of the Arosa Bears Foundation
After their arrival, the bears were understandably cautious. While Sam immediately sought rest in their new wooden den, Jamila was a little more curious. She cautiously explored their new surroundings, but made sure not to stray too far from her hiding spot. Bears Amelia and Meimo, who are the current residents of the sanctuary, watched the arrival of their new neighbors curiously from the outside area.
"After experiencing almost solitary lives in unsuitable, cramped conditions, we are so pleased that Sam and Jamila can now experience an all the more species -appropriate life in the middle of the beautiful Arosa mountains. They can freely bathe, climb, explore, and live out their natural behaviours, in comfort."
Sonul Badiani-Hamment, Country Director of FOUR PAWS UK