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Bears in Albania


FOUR PAWS helps bears in Albania 

© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka

In Albania there are still approximately up to 80 bears leading a miserable existence in captivity

Most privately kept bears are being used for profit or entertainment purposes kept in cages or on chains close to hotels and restaurants or in backyards for private amusement. During summer months, they also serve as “photo props” for tourists on beaches or in pedestrian areas. Often the bears are fixed with a chain through the nose to bend them to their owners will.


Abusive practices are not the only problem in the region


Almost all bears in private keeping in Albania have been illegally captured as cubs from the wild. Consequently, the wild bear population is estimated at approximately 250 animals and remains endangered.

© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka

FOUR PAWS wants to help!

But the situation could be improved very soon, because last weekend, FOUR PAWS’ founder Heli Dungler and the Albanian Minister of Environment, Lefter Koka, signed a memorandum of understanding. Both parties will jointly work on a sustainable and animal-friendly solutions for brown bears, a species often captured and abused for profit and entertainment purposes. Our long-term goal is to completely end cruel private keeping like it was achieved in Kosovo.

© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka

in a first step, the penal system shall be tightened

Brown bears living in the wild in Albania are already protected by law, but violations are usually either not prosecuted or nominal fines imposed. There is no official data available about the actual number of bears in captivity and the country lacks accommodation possibilities for wild animals taken from bad keeping conditions. 


Lefter Koka, Minister of Environment of Albania: “First, we want to focus on ending the most cruel forms of bear keeping in Albania. There are many bears abused to attract tourists, for example in tiny cages near restaurants, on beaches or near famous sights. We want to strengthen the image of Albania as a responsible tourism destination, where cruelty towards animals has no legitimate place.”

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