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A tourist travelling in Albania noticed a bear trapped in a cage in a restaurant. This bear is used as tourist attraction and he shows clear signs of discomfort.

Our volunteers in Albania did an inspection to check the status of the animal. Clearly the owner does not care about the bear’s welfare and needs: he brought him, when he was just a cub, from a private citizen, who kept him its entire infancy on his house, only to put him in a little cage to be shown to clients.

OIPA International is now trying to take contact with the owner to find out if he wants to cooperate with OIPA, in order to move the bear to an appropriate location, like a bear sanctuary. A place where the animal can spend the rest of his life in a proper environment and with other bears, according with its animal needs.

Balu may have soon an opportunity to change his life and put an end to the discomfort which he is suffering at the moment, thanks to the reporting and to our volunteers’ inspection and commitment.

We’ll keep you update about Balu’s history, follow us!

When you see an animal mistreatment do not ignore it, contact us: international@oipa.org, you can make a difference for that animal.


The bear populations in Albania and in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are of significant biological and genetic value, because they form the connecting populations between the brown bear populations in Croatia and Slovenia in the North and the endangered brown bear population of Greece. Data on the numbers and distribution of these populations are therefore of paramount importance for the conservation of the bear population in South-East Europe.

In Albania, the current estimation of the bear population is about 250 individuals; the species has been steadily declining in the last 20 years, and the current population size estimate is the lowest ever. The species is legally protected in Albania, however, there is no management plan or are implementing a national strategy for the conservation of the species, and bear populations in both countries are not being systematically monitored. Consequently, there is a serious lack of information on their general status and distribution, and the population numbers mentioned above are merely educated assumptions.

Many bears are still kept by Albanian citizens in private houses, restaurants and tourist locations.