Happy and healthy Dushi

The Transformation of A Rescued Animal

After being rescued, many of our animals go through a mental and physical transformation


Across the world, many bears and big cats are forced to perform in circuses, as photo props for tourists, vegetate in substandard zoos, and are kept under unsuitable private keeping conditions. A large number of these animals suffer greatly from stress caused by malnutrition, confinement, cruel training, neglect and boredom. These animals are deprived of their natural needs and instincts.

We are working towards a world where animals will no longer be forced into such cruelty.

What is FOUR PAWS doing?

  • We work alongside governments to change laws; aiming to end the inappropriate keeping of bears and big cats in zoos, circuses and in private keeping
  • We reveal suffering and cause momentum with petitions
  • We rescue animals in need on challenging missions
  • We protect these animals by providing them a life-long home at our sanctuaries

Why do we see such a change after rescuing?

  • Medical care – we ensure that all of our rescued animals receive the best possible medical care by experienced veterinarians
  • Food – a species-appropriate diet is essential for optimal health
  • New Environment – many of our animals come from confined spaces, now they live in a species-appropriate environment where they can act on many of their natural instincts
  • Enrichment – our animals are provided with special stimuli and techniques such as foraging and searching for objects to keep them occupied and improve their motor and behavioral skills

Can you see the difference in our rescued animals? 

Asiatic black bear Keo

Bear Keo was rescued with four other bears in Vietnam. All had been abused for their bile to be used in Traditional Medicine. They spent their lives in tiny, dark, concrete and metal cages, under extreme conditions such as 35 degrees Celsius heat and deafening noises. Keo sat motionless in the corner of her cage, a broken animal at the end of her strength. 

The rescue mission brought them to our BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, where Keo was transformed into a happy and healthy bear. She can spend her days in a species-appropriate environment, and live her life never experiencing such confinement or suffering again. 

Brown bear Gjina

Gjina was living in a tiny four-meter square cage outside of a restaurant in Albania. Gjina was one of many “restaurant bears” in Albania. Whilst in her cage, customers of the restaurant would give her as many as 20 beers a day to drink. She lived a miserable, sad and lonely life. Now, with your support we were able to rescue her - she will never suffer again! As she was still young at the time of her rescue, she has good prospects to recover and her transformation is remarkable. 

Now, beautiful Gjina lives in an 8,500 square meter enclosure at our BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, along with another bear rescued from Albania, Pashuk. Both Gjina and Pashuk are encouraged in many ways to live as naturally as possible, and they are thriving!

Lion Ivan-Asen

After two full years, Ivan-Asen looks nothing like the poor creature that arrived here. You made it possible to rescue Ivan from a dark cage in an illegal breeding station in Bulgaria. You made it possible for him to be moved to our special care FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary. You made it possible for him to receive the intensive care that he so desperately needed! And although Ivan will always need specialized (medical) care, we are proud to provide him with a comfortable life, in which he enjoys the sun on his skin, sand under his paws and playtime with his nephews Masoud and Terez! He looks like a true king. 

Tiger Laziz

Laziz was rescued during a rescue mission of Khan Younis Zoo  in Gaza Strip. After Laziz was rescued he was transferred to our LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa - look at him now! You made it possible for Laziz to bloom into a beautiful tiger and enjoy the long sunny African days in the long grass of the sanctuary.

Brown bear Violeta 

Violeta is one of our oldest bears living at our BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa in Bulgaria which is run with FONDATION BRIGITTE BARDOT. She was abused in the name of entertainment, forced to dance for tourists, having a ring through her sensitive nose attached to a chain. Again, and again the pulling and wrenching tore the skin inside her nose and jaw, leaving behind deep wounds and loose flaps of skin. 

Years of malnutrition have affected her outer skin and fur. Every year after hibernation, Violeta loses patches of fur, mainly around her face. But despite those visible wounds, Violeta is now a very happy bear! Meanwhile she is almost completely blind, but enjoys spending her days sleeping by the pond with her favorite food.

This would not be possible if it wasn't for you – our amazing supporters!

Napa and Amelia in the snow at Arosa Bear Sanctuary

See more of our rescued animals