Paddington now safe

Posted on 13 May 2015 by

Fiona Dunn

in the Animals in the wild blog

With the help of your support, we fight to free bears from cruel captivity – either trapped behind bars in run-down zoos or exploited as attractions at tourist resorts.

Often when we tell you about a bear that has been rescued, it is because of the terrible suffering he or she has been forced to endure. It is clear to see how being kept caged and confined is a terrible way for a bear to live, and we work hard to rescue them and give them a better life at World Animal Protection-funded sanctuaries. But Paddington's story is a different tale altogether…

Paddington wasn’t caged or being used as a tourist attraction – quite the opposite. The young cub, just 14 months old, was found roaming the streets of the large city Sibiu in Transylvania. He had been spotted jumping over fences and crossing busy streets, trying to avoid people and dogs, but didn’t have anywhere to go. 

Dramatic capture

It wasn’t long before people started to notice him and the authorities were alerted to Paddington’s presence. The orphaned bear couldn’t be left wandering the streets as he was putting both himself and the residents of Sibiu in danger. The authorities took swift action to capture Paddington and went after him with firecrackers and police sirens. Afraid and alone, he was eventually discovered hiding in a basement. 

Luckily, our partner in Romania, Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP), offered to take the frightened orphan to the safety of the bear sanctuary near Zarnesti – part-funded by our generous supporters. 

Paddington in a cage

The road home

They lured the curious cub into a transportation cage then onto the van that would take him to safety. He seemed happy to discover the apples hidden in the straw bedding that kept him amused during the two hour drive to the sanctuary. 

Upon arrival at his new home, Paddington was given a full health check then released into the main sanctuary to roam to his heart’s content. 

We don’t know how he ended up wandering the streets alone but Paddington’s glossy fur suggests he might have been kept as a pet, which would explain his familiarity with people. Staff at the sanctuary think he probably escaped from someone’s garden or was deliberately released when he got too big to keep. 

It is terribly sad that we don’t know what happened to Paddington’s mother and that he has not been able to learn the skills necessary to survive in the wild. But at least we’ve been able to give him the next best thing – acres of woodland to explore, trees to climb, large pools to swim in and 79 other bears to play with. 

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