Siggi and Balou have arrived at BEAR PARK Müritz
Brown bears saved from bad keeping in Germany:
Two male bears named Balou and Siggi have been rescued and brought to the German FOUR PAWS bear sanctuary in Müritz. Their longtime home, the wildlife park Hellenthal has been known for very poor keeping standards for bears. A change in management, however, made the transfer to BEAR PARK Müritz possible. The animals, who are father and son, are aged 10 and 19 respectively and have started to explore their new habitat with much curiosity.
The transfer was carried out by an experienced FOUR PAWS team, including Dr. Göritz from the Berlin Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research. Both animals went through an extensive health check before the 9-hour journey. The main problem the animals had faced throughout their years in Hellenthal was the extremely limited space of just 150 square metres and the fenced-in vegetation. Balou is a strong and massive animal and much bigger than his father Siggi, who stood no chance of emerging the winner of any confrontation the two would get into.
A spacious and varied natural habitat
All this will change now that they have arrived safely at BEAR PARK Müritz. Siggi and Balou have adapted well to the temporary enclosure that permits close monitoring by the experts on site. Their new habitat will not only help them to rediscover their instincts and behaviour patterns, it will also minimise their conflicts. In the environment offered at the FOUR PAWS sanctuary, every bear has every possibility to retreat, mark its own territory and find different resting places. Particularly for animals who have suffered from inappropriate keeping, this entirely new take on their living conditions is the most vital step in their healing process.
Lack of regulation on standards in Germany
In spite of the lucky turn of events that made a new life possible for Balou and Siggi, there are still around 20 bears living in similar conditions throughout Germany. The main reason for this alarming rate is the country’s lack of efficient legal regulation of keeping standards for bears. Small concrete cages are still allowed in spite the species’ well documented activity level and need of space. FOUR PAWS is lobbying extensively to improve those conditions and has offered assistence to zoos willing to rethink the enclosures and the care they provide.