Dushi was born in 2009 and - together with other wild animals - kept under the worst conditions at the Safari Park Zoo in Fier (Albania) for many years. The bear lived in a small, dirty cage with no access to fresh water or appropriate food. Due to the confinement and lack of stimulation, Dushi was in a poor physical condition, with clear behavioral disorders.
In October 2018 FOUR PAWS rescued Dushi together with ten other neglected wild animals from the zoo and brought her to a temporary accommodation in Tirana.
After FOUR PAWS received the green light from the Albanian authorities, Dushi’s journey to her new home in Germany began on April 3rd. Veterinarian Marc Gölkel from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) was already involved in Dushi’s rescue and took care of her well-being during the transfer. On April 5th, the FOUR PAWS bear ambulance finally arrived with Dushi at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz after a 40-hour drive through nine countries.
“We are happy to finally have brought Dushi to her new home. Our team at the sanctuary specializes in the care she now needs. After years of suffering in cruel keeping conditions, Dushi can now relax, enjoy much-needed room to move around and live a bear-friendly life. She has recovered well at Tirana Zoo, but at our sanctuary she can finally discover and live out her natural instincts."
Carsten Hertwig, bear expert at FOUR PAWS
Including Dushi, a total of 100 bears currently live in the care of FOUR PAWS in the sanctuaries in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kosovo and Vietnam.
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A new chapter for Dushi
Already a day after her arrival at our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz, Dushi was able to explore her outdoor enclosure for the first time. She was very timid when she left her box, sniffed the grass and kept her nose in the fresh air. All these new impressions made the bear, who had only known concrete and cage bars so far, nervous, and she quickly ran back into her box. The animal keepers at the BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz are nevertheless very satisfied with Dushi's reaction, and will closely monitor her further development.
Update May 2020:
At the beginning of the month, the three-legged bear ended her hibernation and is becoming more active again. Dushi slept for over 6 months at our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz. That is quite a lot for a female bear who never had the chance to hibernate before.
Unfortunately, the caretakers are a little worried about her at the moment, because with the end of her hibernation, the behavioural disorders of the female bear have been increasing. She often seems stressed and seeks protection in her box. That behaviour isn’t really surprising though, because after such a long period of sleeping, Dushi now has to settle in again. We give her the time she needs and the team on-site cares lovingly for the bear.