Today I will talk about the bear sanctuary from Zarnesti, Romania. This sanctuary is near Brasov, a small heaven for rescued animals. Beside bears, here you can find wolves and deers.
First of all, you need to understand that this sanctuary is NOT a zoo, but a reservation for brown bears, the biggest reservation in the world.
Everything started with Maya, a bear who lived in the courtyard of a hotel near Bran Castle, in a small, dirty cage. She stayed on a cement floor and was waiting for somebody to bring her some food.
Cristina Lapis, a wonderful woman, discovered Maya’s case and tried to find a solution for Maya’s critical situation. When she saw her, she was shocked. Maya was so weak, sad, powerless, she just was waiting to die. For 4 years, Cristina and her husband, with help from their friends, drove 60 kilometres to visit this bear, to bring her food, vitamins and water. They talked with her, play with her and step by step, Maya started to feel a little bit better.
Unfortunately, in 2011 Maya fell into a hard depression, she started to self-mutilate herself… she gnawed her right paw to the bone. Despite all treatments and surgical interventions, Maya goes to heaven on March 11, 2002. She spend her last moments in Cristina’s arms, her angel. In that moment, Cristina made a promise, to build a sanctuary for all bears from captivity and to do everything to give them a real life – a bear life.
This is how Libearty sanctuary was build, in Maya’s memory. This amazing project started with a sad story, with Maya’s death. But enough with sad stories, let’s talk about what Libearty offers to the world.
Libearty sanctuary is home for 99 rescued animals. Here you can find bears not just from Romania, also from Albania, Texas, Georgia, Huston (SUA) and Armenia. This heaven has 69 hectares of oak forest. The bears have a lot of space to move, run, play, trees to climb and also a pool, to swim when it’s too hot outside. They are happy and healthy and live their best life, the nightmares are over for them.
I was at Libearty sanctuary in 2017 (in this year I made a half country tour, but I will tell you that story another time). I was very surprised, I didn’t expected to find such a good place for animals. First I was in a room where I saw a short video about the sanctuary and the bears and I discovered their stories.
Then entire group was lead by a guide. A nice lady presented us every bear and told us funny stories about it, little nazdravanii. Also she shared with us information about bears’ life, how they live, what they eat and how they survive in the wild. She succeeded to catch all my attention.
At the end of the tour, you can buy a souvenir or you can “adopt” a bear. For a small amount of money you will receive a paper with “your bear” and also monthly updates on the bear’s health and general condition on email.
Now, if you go to Libearty sanctuary, keep in mind these rules:
- Libearty is not a zoo!
- Be respectful – it’s not your forest, you are a simple visitor in bears’ house.
- Don’t feed the bears! They don’t need your food, respect them!
- Put your phone on silent – don’t disturb the bears!
- Don’t make noise! If you have a child, educate him to behave well during the tour. If you can’t control your child, it is better to leave the sanctuary. Is not good to be disrespectful in someone else’s house.
- Don’t throw garbage on the forest ground.
- Behave like you visit a friend’s house – be polite, respectful, friendly and docile.
- Don’t drink or eat in front of the bear. Is very impolite! You do this in front of a little child? Of course not.
- Don’t take photos with flash on. You bother the bears!
- And the last one, stay together, listen the guide, listen the bears’ stories and be a polite visitor. Don’t forget, you are in the BEARS’ HOUSE.
Here you can see some photos from my visit: