Mark, a 24-year-old brown bear, is Albania’s last restaurant bear. This bear has spent over 20 years locked in a cage outside a restaurant near Tirana road. Since he was a cub, he has been in a small cell eating the scraps that were given to him. Now, thanks to Four Paws International, he will have a fresh start in an Austrian bear sanctuary, BÄRENWALD Arbesbach.
Since 2016, Four Paws International has been working at releasing and saving 30 captive restaurant bears. Four Paws rescued eleven bears and the remaining were sent to other sanctuaries in Belgium, Greece, Italy, England, and Germany. While this is a great success for the organization, they hope the authorities will change their legislation for future bears and wildlife.
While in Albania, keeping a wild animal in captivity is illegal, the bear or big cat can be kept if they were born in captivity. Magdalena Scherk-Trettin from Four Pawn hopes this will change, and instead, the government will work to create sanctuaries for these animals. Mark was forced to live in a 1,300-square-foot cage. He had no freedom and was given food scraps and inappropriate food items. This has made him overweight and has rotting teeth.
Albania’s last restaurant bear, Mark, will live out the remainder of his life in Austria’s bear sanctuary. His future will include a 27,000-square-foot enclosure with bushes, trees, and bear-appropriate food. He will also have a team of experts to cater to his medical needs. This brown bear will have the shock of his life when he opens his eyes to a greener and safer home.