Feeding 97 bears at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Romania is a massive task considering how many there are and how much they eat.
Read on to find out what’s involved at feeding time and how you can volunteer at the sanctuary with World Animal Protection’s Volunteer with Bears.
Feeding the bears is a massive task as they eat up to 1.5 tonnes of food daily, a massive 15kg each, much of it donated by generous local supermarkets. Pluto (pictured) appreciates it as he munches through some fruit. Pluto was rescued from a zoo in 2014 with his mother Terra.
What’s on the menu today?
At Libearty, bears eat kiwi fruit, melons, bread, chicken, sausages, honey and even a special ice cream, made for the bears by sanctuary staff.
Staff and sometimes volunteers need to sort the food and make sure it is suitable for the bears to eat. Although different from what they would eat in the wild, it is extremely nutritious and balanced for them.
Staff drive around the perimeter fence with their food baskets feeding the bears, which takes the whole morning. The bears are attracted by the sound of the truck and are delighted when the food is flung over the fence.
In the wild, bears do not normally develop friendships except in mother-cub groups. However, at the sanctuary they develop friendships and eat together. They have as much food as they need at the sanctuary and have a huge, natural environment.
They don’t need to compete for food, and enjoy a relaxed life so they are often seen playing together in the meadows or splashing about together in the large fresh water pools.
When Gheorghe first came to the sanctuary in 2013, he was thin, his coat was dull, and he was losing his sight. In his former life, he had been kept in terrible conditions in a zoo. Today, thanks to his sanctuary diet and the extra vitamins and minerals all the bears are given, Gheorghe is thriving. Although he can never be returned to the wild, he will spend the rest of his life enjoying the sanctuary’s pools and trees and of course the amazing food!
If you would like to visit the sanctuary you can volunteer and help bears like Gheorghe next year www.worldanimalprotection.org.uk/volunteer-bears