Two More ‘Selfie Bears’ Rescued After Years of Suffering

Two more terribly abused Albanian brown bears, Luna and Jeta, will soon be free to live out their remaining days in peace at a sanctuary.

The treatment of brown bears in Albania sparked international outrage over the summer after the plight of one in particular made headlines around the world. Tomi, who was once a wild bear, was captured and forced to live in a cage outside of a restaurant. He was fed bread and beer and used as a tourist draw.

He, and a few others of his kind, have thankfully since been rescued, but efforts to save more of those who have been dubbed ‘Europe’s saddest bears’ are still in the works. Now rescuers from Four Paws are celebrating successful efforts to help Luna and Jeta start new lives.

Luna, a young female, has spent years at an amusement park, where she was kept in a small cage where she was left exposed to the elements and subjected to the noise and chaos of the park.

In partnership with local authorities, a team from Four Paws successfully removed her from her confines.

Luna, a three to four-year-old female, lived in a tiny, filthy cage in the Aulona amusement park in Vlore in southern…

Posted by FOUR PAWS International on Friday, November 18, 2016

Jeta’s life hasn’t been much better. She has spent it being either led around by a nose ring being used as a selfie prop, or chained to the ground in a small shed by it.

According to Four Paws, the years of mistreatment have taken a toll on her, but she’s now going to put those days behind her.

DONE: #Selfiebear Jeta is now in safety! Together with the Albanian Ministry of the Environment Ministria e Mjedisit and…

Posted by FOUR PAWS International on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Along with the help from the Ministry of Environment, she has also been confiscated, and her nose ring has been removed.

Our team has just released Jeta from years of agony! When she awakens from the anesthetic, she…

Posted by FOUR PAWS International on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The two will be held temporarily at a zoo until the spring while work is being completed on enclosures for them at Four Paws’ Bear Sanctuary Prishtina in Kosovo, where they’ll be able to live out their days in peace.

While these bears are now finally safe, there are still an unfortunate number who are in need of help. According to Four Paws, there are an estimated 50 more brown bears currently being kept in unacceptable conditions, even though it was made illegal to own them back in 2006. In an effort to help them, over the summer the organization launched a Save the Saddest Bears campaign in the hope of securing their freedom and increasing enforcement of existing laws intended to protect them.

Already, the Ministry of Environment has announced  plans to build a sanctuary in the National Park Mali Dajtit to provide a permanent home for rescued bears, and has committed to working to end their captivity, which is a promising sign that the days of exploiting these bears will soon come to an end, but there’s still more to be done to secure their freedom and provide them with the care they will need for the rest of their lives.

How to Help

You can show your support for freeing these bears by signing and sharing Four Paws’ petition urging the Albanian Ministry of Environment to end this cruelty by enforcing the ban on captive bears.

For more info on how to help, check out Four Paws and Save the Saddest Bears. For updates on some of the latest rescues, check out Bear Sanctuary Prishtina.

Photo credit: Four Paws/YouTube


Dagmara W
Dagmara W2 years ago

Poor bears.

Sarah H
Sarah Hill2 years ago

So sad that animals are mistreated.

Melania P
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Four Paws is awesome, among my favorite charities. Poor animals, having bears like this should be banned worldwide, enough animal abuse!

Jennifer H
Jennifer H2 years ago

Luna's cage would have driven me insane; I can't imagine the trauma it was for her. The egos it must have taken to force an abused bear to take a selfie. Evil people. Big thanks to Four Paws and all involved in the rescues.

Connie Palladini
Connie Palladini2 years ago


Susan Ho
Susan Ho2 years ago

I love successful rescues!

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Hometuition S2 years ago

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Emily J.
Emily J2 years ago

Great news that these two were rescued! Lets hope more bears are saved next. It seems that worldwide, such "attractions" are losing popularity as more and more people realise it's wrong to treat animals cruelly.

Chris Ringgold
Chris Ringgold2 years ago

I hope the other bears who are still living under bad conditions (being abused for human entertainment, etc.) can get rescued as well before it's too late.