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Last 3 Abused Bears Arrive from Serbia to Bulgaria's Belitsa Dancing Bears Park

Date: 31.01.2009

The FOUR PAWS Foundation had successfully transported the last three registered dancing bears from Serbia to the Bulgarian Dancing Bears refuge and park in Belitsa, the Foundation reported.

The bears are going to be housed in a special sector of the park, prepared just for them. The park is located at the foot of the Rila mountain, 20 km from the Bansko winter resort.

FOUR PAWS started the struggle against the torment of bears in Bulgaria in May of 1999. The first three brown bears arrived a month later while the park was officially opened on November 17, 2000.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry gave to Belitsa Municipality 8,6 hectares to be used by FOUR PAWS for its ambitious project. The organization invested in its own land too. The total area of the park is now 12 hectares.

In 2007, all registered dancing bears in Bulgaria were relocated to the park and the Foundation focused their efforts to save abused animals in neighboring Balkan countries.

The Foundation representatives further informed that they were fully prepared to relocate the Serbian bears as early as the spring of 2008, but could not do so due to political and bureaucratic obstacles. They finally obtained the permit to take the bears in January The transport has gone smoothly, expect the last 11-kilometer stretch of the road between Belitsa and the park due to the fact that the road is completely pot-holed and deteriorated.

Although in both Bulgaria and Serbia, the ownership of dancing bears is forbidden by law, many dancing bears still exist throughout the Balkan countries. Serbia does not have similar facilities to house the abused animals.

The bears are tamed by the cruel method of training cubs to dance on hot metal plates. The animals jump around in pain, while the same music is playing over and over again. When they hear the music, they "learn" to "dance" immediately because they fear the unbearable pains, caused by the hot metal.

The three newest residents of the Belitsa park are named Seyda, Milena and Natasha.

In addition to being housed in their own sector of the park, the three bears have a special feeding program and would be monitored constantly. Milena's condition is reported as being the worst since she is completely blind, very old and week.

"Milena only has several months to live. Despite that, all efforts to bring her hear and take care of her are well merited because this poor animal would be now able to spend her last days in freedom," Vassil Madokev, leader of the caretakers team said.

The "FOUR PAWS" Foundation is consistently and successfully helping mistreated animals across Europe. Other "FOUR PAWS" projects in Bulgaria include systematic campaigns for the neutering of stray animals.

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