Yesterday we had a really interesting talk from a colleague of mine from Romania, Leonardo Bereczky who is running an orphaned bear cub rehabilitation and release centre in the north of the country.
There is so much to say that I recorded a video yesterday and posted it on YouTube.
There around 5000 bears living in the wild in Romania and every year a handful of baby bear cubs are found, sometimes as a result of hunters killing their mother.
In the past these cubs would simply have been put into a cage and kept as tourist attractions but in the last few years the Romanian government has supported Leonardo’s and WSPA’s efforts to protect the bears. We both believe it is better to release the cubs back to the wild whenever possible.
With the support of WSPA I have also worked with one of our Romanian member societies (called ‘Millions of Friends ’) to build a bear sanctuary in the heart of Transylvania, which has enabled the government to confiscate over 50 illegally held captive bears.
These bears will live the rest of their lives in the forested sanctuaries, but any baby bears found should have the chance to be released back into the wild and this is where our work interacts with Leonardo’s. He will be alerted when any baby bears are found that are young enough to go back into the wild.
Leonardo has already successfully released a number of young bears and his fascinating presentation has shown how he tracks their movements once they’ve been released back into the Carpathian Mountains.
He’s even been able to show that the young bears are able to establish their own territory and fend for themselves and it was especially good to see that once released they keep well away from towns and villages.
Another great example of rehab and release of cubs is in Idaho, USA, where WSPA has funded and supported an incredible organisation called Idaho Black Bear Rehab run by Sally Maughan.
Sally has cared for over 200 orphaned American black bear cubs and released them successfully back to the wild.
These cubs are orphaned sometimes through hunting but also because of forest fires, road accidents or even at times when the mother bears abandon them if there is insufficient food available.
You can read more about our Romanian bear sanctuary in a previous blog I ran in 2008.