The only orphanage for bear cubs in Europe faces closure. How can it be saved?

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The only orphan bear station in Europe, located in Hășmaș mountains, Harghita (central Romania) loses its financing and risks closure after two of its partners informed they are not going to renew their supporting contracts.

The orphanage stretches on a 20-hectare area, far away from the human presence and with the cubs slightly interacting with people so that they could perfectly fit in the wild. The baby bears are permanently monitored, how they evolve in their natural environment and after that they are released.

The center’s founder, Bereczky Leonardo told Agerpres that the bear cubs are accepted in the orphanage until they turn six months and are being monitored how they develop their natural instincts in the natural environment.

The founder pointed out that the main reason for the baby bears becoming orphans is that the mother bear is disturbed in her den by the wood cutters, which makes her abandon the shelter.

The center is however risking to close down for the its two major financiers have decided to step down.

For the orphanage to continue its activity, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Romania kicked off a fund raising campaign inviting the animal lovers to pay a monthly financial contribution. The WWF manager Magor Csibi explained that the monthly donation option has been favored so that the orphanage could have a long-term strategy and it should not depend on the donations made by various organizations or companies.

WWF says that the bear orphanage needs minimum USD 3,500 per month to survive under the current circumstances.

Magor Csibi also argued that the orphanage in Hășmaș mountains is extremely important in terms of biodiversity, as the orphan cubs would die otherwise or might get to the improvised zoos.

According to him, WWF has been the orphanage’s partner for three years and that over 100 baby bears have been released in the past ten years. He also revealed that the orphanage is hosting not only baby bears from Romania, but also another ones from the neighbouring countries.

The fundraising campaign is scheduled to end in October, but if the money is not enough, WWF will continue it until the long term financing is provided.

According to the WWF, Romania shelters almost 40% of the bear population in Europe, while Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany or Belgium have no more bears in the wild.

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