Bear Sanctuaries are a source of hope and succor for many of the world’s abused bears.
Despite the combined efforts of several authorities, bears continue to face persecution and abuse from humans all over the world.
And, it doesn’t matter what species they are: Brown bears, or the Asiatic black bears to even the smallest in the bear family, the Sun bear, it’s obvious no bear is safe. However, it’s good to know that there are several establishments worldwide committed to providing hope and peace for some of the world’s most abused creatures.
Below we’ve compiled a list of bear sanctuaries from around the world that are making bears smile.
Top 10 Bear Sanctuaries Worldwide
Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation Center is a bear sanctuary located in Garden City, Idaho. Ever since the year 1989, over two hundred bears have passed through their bear rehabilitation program.
They assess each bear individually and they assert that their organization is responsible for the welfare of every bear in their rehab, until these bears are set free again.
Based on the data of 25 years, the bears that have gone through the rehabilitation in IBBR, have had a better survival rate after being released to the wild. IBBR also highlights the importance of bears regarding the environment and other species.
2. Bear Park Müritz, Germany
You’ll find Bear Park Müritz in Germany. It is currently the largest bear sanctuary in the entire Western Europe. In fact, its total size is about 16 hectares; most of that space being bear territory.
The rest of their land is dedicated to visitors who get a better insight into the lives of these bears after visiting the sanctuary.
Visitors are welcomed daily during the summertime.
Currently, there are four inhabitants in Bear Park Müritz; Ben, Felix, Katja and Ida. These bears have been saved from bad conditions and their behavioral patterns are still being closely monitored.
3. Bear With Us, Canada
Another interesting sanctuary is the Bear With Us facility in Ontario, Canada. It has a somewhat unique focus among the bear sanctuaries. Their primary focuses is on four different areas; black bear rehabilitation, bear sanctuary, education and conflict resolution.
They mainly offer rehabilitation for bears that have been orphaned or injured. In addition, they have ex-circus bears, and seized illegal pets. Bear With Us educates people through one-on-one phone conversations, email responses and they even give presentations at nature clubs and schools.
They have a separate educational Facebook page for their Molly Bear.
4. Bears In Mind, Holland
Bears in Mind is another of the worldwide bear sanctuaries located in Europe. Specifically, the facility is in Rhenen, Holland.
They also protect bears that were previously mistreated and abused. The animals are free to roam over an area of two hectares of forest. There’s other wildlife there too including a small pack of wolves. Actually, this kind of environment is intentionally done to stimulate the natural behavioral traits of these bears.
Bears in Mind, also known as The Bear Forest, started operations in 1993 and it’s commonly called “the first bear sanctuary of its kind in Europe”. There are currently twelve bears living in this sanctuary. Their names are: Björna, Dadon, Duuk, Igor, Keta, Maria, Mincho, Niki, Pesho, Tory and Wolke.
Since Bears in Mind started, a total of 26 bears have lived there.
Animals Asia Foundation operates different bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. In these centers, bears are rehabilitated and protected. Their team also gathers evidence of bile extraction, a practice where bears are held captive to harvest bile, which is a fluid produced by their livers.
This foundation educates its followers on the harm and immorality of this practice that’s quite common around Asia.
Staffers study the behavioral patterns of these bears in each of their two bear sanctuaries. Though the bears get the best care possible, they still remember the years of abuse. As a result, they still display signs of stress disorder.
Data is regularly collected regarding the psychological and behavioral effects of the bile extraction process on the creatures.
The sanctuaries provide employment for nearly three hundred Chinese and Vietnamese people. The jobs range from food preparation to bear care.
You can read more facts about the practice of bear bile farming by clicking here.
6. Bear Farm, Hungary
Bear Farm is located in Hungary. It was established in 1998 and is maintained by the local government.
They accept bears and allow them live among other animals in natural conditions, where they are able to feel safe. Visitors can see these bears quite close without disturbing. The area provides plenty of trees to climb as well as lots of fresh water for drinking and playing.
In addition, there are wolves and raccoons at this sanctuary.
7. Appalachian Bear Rescue, USA
Appalachian Bear Rescue, also known as ABR, is a black bear rehabilitation facility and a sanctuary that is located in Townsend, Tennessee.
It’s a nonprofit organization engaged in rehabilitating and returning bears back to the wild. This rehabilitation center started in 1996. They rehabilitate orphaned and injured bears as well as bears who happen to be in need of medical care. ABR has cared for a total of 266 bears since inception.
It is possible to volunteer at ABR. They are currently looking for help with the Appalachian Bear Rescue educational school programs.
ABR also offers memberships and they have been organizing several different events at schools and education centers.
Edwin Wiek is the founder of a popular bear sanctuary is Asia named Wildlife Friends Foundation.
Although they rescue not only bears but all animals. The founder is very passionate about ending bear trade and the keeping of bears as exotic pets.
Another unique angle to their operations is that they also rescue temple bears. These are bears that were bought as cubs but were abandoned and dumped at temples as they grew too big for their owners to handle.
9. Bioresource Research Centre, Pakistan
This bear sanctuary is based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Their main focus is on bear conservation through curbing the practice of bearbaiting.
Bearbaiting is one of the most vile forms of blood sports still existing today. It’s a form of entertainment whereby a bear has its teeth and claws removed, is chained, but made to fight specially trained vicious dogs several times daily.
The BRC staff work by monitoring prospective bearbaiting events, so that appropriate deterring actions can be taken well in time. Their facility is setup to house confiscated bears at the Kund Bear Sanctuary and can take up to between 30 and 40 bears.
BRC also visits local schools and mosques to spread the awareness against bearbaiting among the masses.
Bearbaiting is an ancient practice that’s now abolished in most countries but still a culture in Pakistan.
10. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Borneo
BSBCC’s sanctuary is in Malaysia and was founded by a well-known bear expert, Dr. Siew Te Wong.
The main occupant at this sanctuary is the persistently hunted Sun bear. Though it’s the world’s smallest bear, hunters kill them in large numbers for their gall bladder (bile extraction) and to sell its other body parts. Consequently, there are many juvenile bears left orphaned by these poachers.
The sanctuary collects and rehabilitates these juveniles and other abused bears in a specially designed wild and lush environment.
Check and see if you can find one close to you and maybe pay them a visit. Some of these bear sanctuaries also accept volunteers. You can get more information by clicking on the individual website links.