As the biggest bear protection center in Western Europe, there is never a dull day our BEAR SANCTUARY Mueritz in Germany. To find out more about the daily activities at the sanctuary we interviewed animal caretaker, Sabine Steinmeier, who has been at the sanctuary since 2007! Sabine gives us an exclusive look behind the scenes!
Can you describe an average day at work?
There are few average working days because something usually comes up and changes the process, however, the day begins with the fence round, then preparation of medications, visual inspection, observation and the feeding of the bears. Cleaning the enclosures, animal training and enrichment are part of each working day, as well as writing logs, administrative tasks etc. Then once a month the cleaning of the ponds. Maintaining the facilities, such as the feeding area where the food is getting prepared. In the afternoon again giving medication, cleaning bear houses and checking fences.
What's one thing that makes your job feel special?
The development of the bears from the beginning of their arrival.
What has been one of the most gratifying or memorable parts of your job?
Generally working with the bears. The bear transports that I was able to join. My stay in Jordan at Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife.
What is one of the most challenging aspects of working with animals/working with the sanctuary?
You should always be highly alert because you are working with very dangerous animals. You shouldn't have to work under pressure and you should have enough time for it. Distractions should be avoided, especially when working closely with the animals.
What did you do before you joined FOUR PAWS?
I worked with animals at various institutions as a zoo keeper (zoo, animal shelter, university, animal park).
What is one of your favorite things about working in the sanctuary?
Hiding the food in the enclosure, animal training, keeping the bears busy (with enrichment).
Do you have a favorite animal at the sanctuary? If so, why?
I love all bears. But there are bears with whom you have a closer relationship. For me it's Balou, Otto, Tapsi, Bruno and Susi.
What do you like to do outside of work? What do you feel passionate about?
My dog, animal training, reading, hiking, I am a voluntary wolf ambassador and manage the LAG MV (Mecklenburg Western Pomerania) and I am the contact person for MV at the GzSdW (Society for the Protection of Wolves). Working with the AG (Working group) Wolves in captivity.