Volunteer with Bears launches on Hug a Bear Day

07 November 2017

No hugging, but animal lovers registering for our ‘volunteer with bears’ can spend three days with 97 rescued brown bears at the Libearty bear sanctuary from the 13th-18th September 2018.

Activities at Europe’s largest bear sanctuary in Romania vary due to priorities at the time but may include feeding, maintaining enclosures, making toys for the bears and planting fruit trees – bears love fruit!

Feeding the bears alone is a massive task as they eat up to 1.5 tonnes of food daily, a massive 15kg each, much of it donated by generous local supermarkets. Bears eat a mixture of fruit, bread and meat and this all needs to be sorted and then fed to the bears each morning. Activities at Europe’s largest bear sanctuary vary due to priorities at the time but may include feeding, maintaining enclosures, making toys for the bears and planting fruit trees – bears love fruit!

Bear sanctuary in Zarnesti, Romania. Credit: World Animal Protection / George Popescu

Many bears in the sanctuary have been rescued from small, rusted cages where they were kept as pets or attractions for restaurants and petrol stations. Others were saved from euthanasia as many zoos were unable to comply with animal management standards when Romania joined the European Union.

Rescued bears usually can’t adapt to a life in the wild, but at the sanctuary they have a massive 66 acres of forested enclosures with oak trees to climb, pools to swim and play in and dens to hibernate and relax.

Odi at the Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania. Credit: AMP

Gillian Dailly, previous participant said, “My trip was a great opportunity to see the bears, so close and in their natural habitat. The sanctuary is a wonderful environment for the bears and an amazing contrast to their previous lives of suffering. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone in the future.”

Volunteers do not need prior experience as expert local staff will support you through all activities. As well as spending time with the bears there is also an opportunity to see the breath-taking Romanian countryside on a trek through the Piatra Craiuliu National Park.

Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania. Credit: World Animal Protection / George Popescu

Volunteers are asked for a deposit of £295 and commit to raising or self-funding £1,400 which goes towards running the sanctuary. It also covers flights, transfers and transport within Romania, accommodation in local guesthouses, meals and drinking water, welcome dinner, celebration meal, local guides and full support crew on the trek.

Find out more about our Volunteer with Bears trip here.

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