Romania is home to more than a third of the brown bear population of Europe and it is worldwide known for its wild, unspoiled beauties. Though brown bears are commonly considered dangerous animals, in fact, they prefer to hide and avoid crowds as they sense the intruders at a large distance. But, there are situations when they are taken by surprise by tourists and these are the moments when they are likely to attack or if they suffer from rabies. So, it’s better to hike in the Romanian wilderness in groups and always take care to make sufficient noise so that even the laziest bear have time to move away. Hunting them is forbidden so Romania is the perfect place for organized bear observation sessions. The population significantly grew in the last two decades so the chances of actually seeing bears are high.
Unfortunately, there are many intriguing situations when bears, especially those semi-domesticated, are poorly treated. It’s about bears used to amuse tourists, kept in cages near restaurants, without proper medical care or even left for days without food and water, bears kept in inappropriate zoos or used in the circus. All these bears, doomed to spend their entire life in such conditions found hope at Zarnesti, near the city of Brasov, where the Bear Reservation LiBEARty Sanctuary was opened.
The Libearty Bear Sanctuary – a memory to never forget
Founded in the memory of Maya, a female brown bear with a very sad destiny, the LiBEARty Sanctuary is the largest bear reservation in Europe, hosting more than 70 brown bears and one Asian black bear brought from Texas. The sanctuary consists of 69 acres of rich forests, lakes, springs and meadows, fringed by the Carpathian Mountains so, coming here will be both refreshing and educative. The visits are possible only by booking in advance and just for groups between 10 and 24 persons. The tour lasts for 45 minutes and consists of a guided tour at the board of a small train. Tourists will found out exactly how the sanctuary was created, they will listen to Maya’ story, considered the protector of the reservation and also they will hear other touching stories of the bears within the park. Kids will love seeing how the bears are fed and, undoubtedly, the tour will be for them an experience to remember forever. More than that, there is the possibility of “adopting” a bear by paying 60 euro per year. For that, you are given a certificate and the certitude that the money will be used for food and medical care and, of course, you will get your bear friend for life.
There is no doubt that Romania is indeed a bear-lover country and Libearty Bear Sanctuary is a place worth visiting so be sure to put it on your MUST SEE list.
On October 17, 2015 the LiBEARty Sanctuary celebrated its 10th anniversary. With this occasion was founded the first Teddy Bear museum at the Bear Sanctuary. Now, real bears and teddy bears live together at Zarnesti.