WWF starts fundraising for Europe’s only bear orphanage located in Romanian Harghita County

WWF starts fundraising for Europe’s only bear orphanage located in Romanian Harghita County

The only bear cub orphanage in Europe, located in Hasmas Mountains in central Romania, is at risk of closing down for lack of funds after two donors have decided not to renew their support.

The 20-hectare sanctuary has been kept away from human presence and it operates on a minimal interaction with humans, so that animals can easily reintegrate back into the wild. The cubs are constantly monitored while at the sanctuary, and their future development is also tracked after being released into their natural habitat.

Founder of the center Bereczky Leonardo told AGERPRES that cubs are accepted up to the age of six months and offered a space that is identical with their natural habitat, which grows along with the cubs developing their natural instincts.

“The rehabilitation method we use is providing a natural identical space that dynamically grows along with the ecological needs of the animals, with limited human presence while they’re fed so that they wouldn’t associate humans with food. They actually live in a natural habitat where they develop innate instincts, as they would do beside their mothers. Then, one of the rehabilitation pens gradually opens, the animals start exploring the environs and after being released they find their own dens,” Bereczky explained.

He also said that the main cause for orphaned bear cubs is the woodcutters that chase the mother bear out of her den, which makes the animal leave its cubs behind.

The center, however, is at risk of closing down in January 2017 because its two main donors have decided to stop funding it.

World Wild Fund Romania has started a fundraiser asking animal lovers to contribute a monthly amount. Director of WWF Romania Magor Csibi told AGERPRES that monthly donations were chosen in order to preserve a long-term fundraising strategy and no longer depend on donations from companies or organizations. WWF data show that the sanctuary needs 3.500 US dollars a month to survive under the current circumstances, and it also needs to increase its capacity given that the number of orphaned bears is growing, requiring additional funds.

Magor also pointed out that the Hasmas Mountains orphanage is highly important for biodiversity, since it is able to save orphaned cubs that otherwise would end up dead or in improvised zoos.

“To us, as WWF, is vital to get involved, since over 100 cubs have been released over the past 10 years. We’ve been partners for three years and I believe that the work done at this orphanage is incredibly important to biodiversity. We very well know that, although official figures try to say something different, the bear population is far from growing in Romania. This orphanage saves orphaned bear cubs not only from Romania, but also from neighboring countries and without it such bears would probably die, or worse, would end up in makeshift zoos, where conditions are horrible,” he said. More…