AP

Albania’s last captive bear rescued to Austrian sanctuary

Dec 6, 2022, 4:17 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2022, 6:21 am

Mark last brown bear in captivity looks out of a cage before it will be tranfered, in Tirana, Alban...

Mark last brown bear in captivity looks out of a cage before it will be tranfered, in Tirana, Albania, on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. Mark a 24-year-old bear was kept at a cage for 20 years at a restaurant in the capital Tirana. Albania's last brown bear in captivity has been rescued by an international animal welfare organization and taken to a sanctuary in Austria.(AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

(AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s last brown bear in captivity was rescued by an international animal welfare organization Wednesday and will be taken to a sanctuary in Austria.

Four Paws began the journey with the 24-year-old bear, named Mark, accompanied by a large file of documents to get him across multiple national borders.

“I’m very sure if we measure his heart rate now, he will be very stressed,” Julia Bohner, the leading veterinarian, told the journalists and other curious people, warning that though Mark is used with people’s presence “this attention with cameras and people coming close, he doesn’t know it.”

Leading veterinarian Julia Bohner sedated Mark before putting him into the van that will take him to the Arbesbach sanctuary, 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Vienna .

“The last bear that was kept in such a tiny cage, we will today rescue him,” said Magdalena Scherk-Trettin, Four Paws coordinator.

Mark was kept in a 120 square-meter (1,300 square-foot) cage for 20 years at a restaurant in the capital, Tirana. There is no record of how he was originally captured.

The rescue organization said the bear was fed inappropriate food, which had made him overweight, and his teeth were broken.

“We also see that he’s not walking properly, not behaving properly,” said Scherk-Trettin, adding, however, that they were so pleased the owners willingly gave Mark to them.

In Austria, Mark will have a 2,500 square-meter (27,000 square-foot) natural enclosure, with bushes, trees, the opportunity to hibernate and the appropriate food and medical care.

More than captive 30 bears kept next to restaurants and other public places in Albania have been rescued since 2015. Four Paws rescued 11 of those, while others were sent to sanctuaries or zoos in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Greece and Britain in cooperation with other organizations.

According to Albanian law, seizing wild animals and keeping them is prohibited but if a bear or big cat is born in captivity, it can be kept.

Wildlife organizations want authorities to strengthen and enforce the legislation, but also work on the growing illegal trade in wildlife.

“We are very much in favor that the Albanian authorities establish a wild animal sanctuary in the country so that … other animals in the future can stay in the country and live in much more appropriate conditions,” said Scherk-Trettin.

___

Follow Llazar Semini at https://twitter.com/lsemini

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

2 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

4 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

5 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

5 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

6 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

7 days ago

Albania’s last captive bear rescued to Austrian sanctuary