To the Minister for the Protection of the Environment Oliver Dulic and the assistant Minister Radislav Momirov
To the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Resources, Dr. Sasa Dragin
 
We request that both ministries take urgent measures for the relocation of  ill-treated bears, incarcerated  in Paracin and Pozarevac, to a refuge center for the bears of southeast Europe.  We also request the signing of the very favorable contract  proposed by the Society for the Protection of Animals, "Four Paws" (Vier Pfoten) for the establishment of a Refuge Center for Brown Bears in Serbia.

Two conventions have been ratified which Serbia as signatory is thereby obliged to implement. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and The  Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats - the Bern Convention, were signed by Dr. Sasa Dragin as Minister of the Environment in September 2007.

For some inexplicable reasons no action is been taken. We regard this case as urgent because in the meantime one bear has died and the others three are further exposed to hardship and are deprived of their natural hibernation rhythm. 

Regardless of the fact that Hunting Inspection and Court officials have taken all steps required by law, the Ministry for the Environment is delaying the rescue of these unfortunate animals.

Endangered bears in Serbia

View photo gallery: Endangered bears in Serbia >>


Early in September "Freedom for Animals", received an e-mail from ETN - European Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature in Bonn (Europäischen Tier- und Naturschutz e.V.), with a request to assess the possibilities of renewing efforts to rescue the four bears, in the possession  of some Gypsies  in Požarevac and Paracin who drag them from village fairs to town and city environments where they are forced to dance for public entertainment.  A request has also come from the society, Vier Pfoten, ("Four Paws") in Austria to investigate the silence which follows their offer of temporary refuge in Belitsa in Bulgaria.

The offers made to Serbia, by both these societies, to provide temporary accommodation for these distressed creatures is still open.

Cedomir Mijovic, at the Ministry for the protection of the Environment responsible for the implementation of the CITES convention, assured us in mid September that the Convention would be respected and that a decision had been taken to establish a refuge in Serbia. Stara Planina, the surrounding of Despotovac or Tare are being considered. "Freedom for Animals" welcomes this decision and will support it as far as possible.

Those responsible at the ministry have been reminded of the offers by Vier Pfoten and ETN to provide temporary refuge for the bears while a permanent refuge is being organized in Serbia. Carsten Hertwig from Berlin, director of the "Four Paws" campaign for bears, visited Serbia on the 20th and 21st November. Following site visits and official talks with the ministry responsible, the offer of help for solving of this problem was renewed. 

A very favorable contract to finance the establishment of a Refuge Center for Bears, in Serbia, was proposed by the society "Four Paws", which has refuge centers in Austria, Bulgaria and Romania  The contract includes temporary care for the bears at Belista in Bulgaria (which is being extended to 12 hectares) and finally the return of the bears to Serbia when the refuge here is completed. The estimated cost of the project is 1,5 million EU. The "Four Paws' " contract includes transport, maintenance,veterinary expenses with regular reports on their health condition, while the bears retain their Serbian birthright.

No explanation has been given for the delay or why exit permits for these bears have suspended.

A second offer has been made by ETN, to facilitate the bears at the refuge "Libearty" in Zamesti in Rumania, run by "Asociatia de Protecitie a Animalelor Milioane de Prieteni"

Up to now there is no refuge for endangered bears in Serbia which meets the EU recommendations: adequate space, bathing facilities, dens for hibernation, in short an enclosed area in nature where bears can feel at home.

Bozana, Kasandra and Seida suffer on in captivity: one completely blind, another with infected eyes and  wounds around the  snout ... all pointing to a sorry state of affairs not only for our animals but among our people and official institutions.

Endangered bears in Serbia

View photo gallery: Endangered bears in Serbia >>


The situation for brown bears in Serbia is in fact a cause for worry, if not alarm. The population in northeast Serbia over the last 30 years varies from 3-5 up to 10. In Serbia as a whole, poaching is constantly present effecting the population negatively. According to the latest  estimate the number of bears is not more than 53. Brown bears are in the category endangered species and thus hunting is forbidden at all times.

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Pdf2PDF Documents and presentations:


Refuge Center for Brown Bears in Bulgaria in english >>

Refuge Center for Brown Bears in Bulgaria in german >>


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Video shots from You Tube:

1. English: FOUR PAWS - rescue of serbian dancing bears delayed




2. German: VIER PFOTEN - Serbische Tanzbären warten immer noch auf Rettung:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVtkV3bZN2I


3. How it went transportation of brown bears in Bulgaria:



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