Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The restaurant bears of Albania

Overall, a kind of a depressing story, but at least it has a happy ending.

It used to be a "thing" for several restaurants in Albania to keep bears as caged pets and to use them as a tourist attraction. The bears were always in ridiculously small cages, and not well looked after. 

Until the practice was outlawed in 2010. But even then, it took a couple of years for enforcement to take place, and then of course what to do with the bears?

The bears could not be released into the wild... many had been caged for years, and wouldn't know how to survive. They also were so used to people that they would become problem bears and eventually need to be put down. Many were also malnourished and in very poor physical condition.

So a sanctuary was built just outside of Pristina, Kosovo. 

Yesterday, we drove over to the Prishtina Bear Sanctuary for a visit.

It only cost €2 ($2.70 CAD, $2 USD) per adult to get in.

We had no idea what to expect, but the facilities are very modern and we were impressed.

This is Nala.

Every enclosure has a sign saying the name of the bear, and a little bit of history. There are 20 different bears at the sanctuary, and some of them share a large enclosure, while others have space to themselves. Here at the sanctuary, they have a total of 40 acres of space to share.

You might want to click on the photo to make it full screen and easier to read.

This is Stivi.

Look at those claws!

Andri was not a restaurant bear. He was orphaned and has been here since he was a cub.

An overview of the facility.

The bears here are all Eurasian brown bears. They look similar to a North American grizzly bear, but much smaller.

Ruth wants to give Anik a scratch behind his ears!

We climbed a path to the top viewpoint.

Up there, we found Ema, Oska, and Roni.

We're not sure which one is which!

Here is their story.

Kassandra spent 11 years in a cage like this.

We couldn't find Kassandra.
She must have been sleeping somewhere in her enclosure.

There was a photo of Kassandra in her old cage.

Here are some stories of the other bears...

Gjina weighed only 140 lbs when she arrived here.
She now weighs a healthy 450 lbs.

The sanctuary has a lot of educational things as well. We saw two separate groups of school children there. They also have a restaurant where all profits are used to support the bears, as well as a conference room and gift shop.

The sanctuary is supported by Four Paws International.

And, they allow motorhomes to camp for free in their parking lot!

So nice to see these poor bears being looked after with top quality care for the rest of their lives.

Record low deal on this 8' x 18' RV Patio Mat

And in Canada...


  1. In Cherokee, NC until maybe 20 years ago, they had the same situation. People would drive through the tourist town and a few places had bears in cages. You would buy a Coke and a pack of peanuts and the handler would give it to the bear and the bear would turn it up and drink it, the peanuts already have poured in the drink. Of course to a child that was amazing, now, just the memory is sad.

    1. Wow, we didn't release that they had some restaurants that were similar in the US as well. That is pretty sad! Yes, the children probably didn't realise that is wasn't acceptable behavior and would have thought that it was pretty cool to see. I wonder what happened to those bears when this practice was stopped?

  2. I hate seeing any wild animal caged. So wrong. We need to protect those animals that have been made vulnerable by capture. This is a Happy ending for those bears.


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