Bear Sanctuaries

Romania Bear Sanctuary 

Since 2005, World Animal Protection (we were known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals or WSPA) has supported Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP) in creating the world’s largest bear sanctuary. Located near Zarnesti in central Romania, the sanctuary was created to facilitate the legal confiscation of captive bears from poor welfare conditions with the aim of ending the illegal practice of keeping bears in private and cruel captive conditions and ensuring the lifetime care of those bears. 

You can see the bears in action by checking out our live stream link here.

We have provided essential technical advice on the design and management of the sanctuary and have provided the bulk of the funds necessary to build and manage the bear sanctuary and to care for the rescued bears. AMP has overseen the construction work and is also responsible for managing the bear sanctuary, ensuring the legal confiscation of bears, and to provide day-to-day care for the bears. As of the end of 2016 there were a total of 87 bears enjoying the large forested enclosures at the sanctuary.

Educating the next generation

As the sanctuary has become well known in Romania there have been an increasing number of Romanian schools requesting visits for classes of children. Teachers accompany the classes and the children learn about the need to protect wildlife and about animal welfare in general. During 2013, the sanctuary hosted around 20 visits of groups of school children with their teachers. As the number of school children visiting the sanctuary increases, AMP has recognized the need to create educational materials to be distributed to teachers and students during the visit to enable them to learn more about bears and animal welfare.

Balkasar Sanctuary 

Since the start of the Balkasar Sanctuary project in Pakistan, 70 bears have been rescued. Currently, there are 40 bears living in peace in the sanctuary, all thanks to you. The sanctuary is about 17 acres and split into two enclosures giving all of the bears living there plenty of space to roam around. In addition, there are two pools, natural climbing structures, and denning places that allow the bears to perform all of the natural behaviors.

With your support, we can give bears in captivity a new home and a peaceful existence.


Bears playing in the sanctuary.

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The first two bears to call Romanian Bear Sanctuary home

Cristi and Lydia were the first bears that we found in Romania and the first ones to be rescued. They were kept in a cage behind a restaurant and used to attract customers.  They lived in a small concrete cage with nothing to entertain them. In the winter the concrete was frozen and they had to sit on the ice. In the summer it was red hot. Hitting financial problems, the restaurant stopped feeding them and they were only getting a few scraps to eat now and again. The bears called the Romanian Bear Sanctuary home in 2005 and moved to the 7 hectare forest enclosure in 2008. They can often be seen sitting in the pool playing with sticks and each other.