International wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation discovered three young brown bear cubs in cramped conditions in a dog pound in Georgia, in eastern Europe. The trio were sisters Mollie and Georgia, and lonely Louisa – kept alone and sucking her paws for comfort. At just two months old, they had been found scavenging for food after last year’s terrible floods. The charity wanted to take the brown bear cubs to Greece’s world-renowned Arcturos Bear Sanctuary.
Working in partnership with The Mayhew pet charity, and following a major fundraising appeal and extensive paperwork, Born Free at last could take the vulnerable bears to their new home. Early one morning the cubs were loaded into specially designed crates. Born Free had chartered a small plane to transport them 1500 miles from Georgia to Greece, accompanied by their veterinarian, John Knight. The plane finally touched down at sunny Thessaloniki airport and the bears were quickly unloaded and placed into a ventilated van for the final leg of their epic odyssey.
Arcturos Bear Sanctuary
After a three-hour road journey through the stunning mountains of northern Greece, the team arrived at the sanctuary, just outside Florina and set amid 50 acres of beech woodland. Each crate was carefully lifted into the night dens of the quarantine centre. First, Georgia, blinking in the sunlight, was released and immediately began to investigate. She was closely followed by Mollie, clearly overjoyed to see her sister after spending their journey in separate crates. Then it was Louisa’s turn. Louisa had been kept alone in her own kennel at the dog pound as the staff had neither the space nor expertise to introduce her to the others. She was so excited to be outside once more. How wonderful to finally see these young cubs experience grass underfoot and wide skies overhead once again.
Introducing the two girls to little Louisa could not be done all at once, so one by one they were allowed to say hello. Gradually, as the team at Arcturos observed their behaviour, all three were introduced together. When they are big enough they will move to the larger enclosure of the main sanctuary. Here they will meet the other brown bears, rescued from the horrific dancing bear trade (now illegal in the EU), or found orphaned, like Kyriakos – an adult bear at the sanctuary.
It is great to know that the trio are having the very best possible care at Arcturos and experiencing a life as close to the wild as possible.
You can help: Please adopt Kyriakos – just four months old when rescued by Arcturos and now a magnificent adult. Adoption costs just £2.50 per month and includes a personalised gift pack and FREE cuddly toy – visit give.bornfree.org.uk/adopt