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Bear Pashuk

Aug 2016

Prishtina

Rescue Pashuk

The saddest bear of Albania found his safe haven – the moment that he got released from his chains

8/6/2021

In May 2016, a FOUR PAWS team detected a bear in a tiny, dirty cage beside a restaurant in the southern part of Albania. Pashuk, as he was called, was born in 2011. His owners had put Pashuk on a chain when he was still small, locked him in the cage, and never removed the chain ever since. His skin and fur had grown around the chains on his neck as he aged. Although he was malnourished and closer to death than alive when we found him, Pashuk had a strong will to survive. With support of the Albanian authorities, FOUR PAWS saved Pashuk in August 2016. It was a very nerve-wracking rescue operation, as the chain needed to be removed surgically. Since his arrival at our BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, he has made tremendous improvements and is peacefully living with his partner, bear Gjina.

“The condition of Pashuk was so bad that we feared he would not survive. But he did. He got a second chance in life at our BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina. We kept his chains as they are a sad memory of his life and a strong message to people not to mistreat animals.”

Afrim Mahmuti, Site Manager of BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina

Reveal the chains

Afrim Mahmuti, Site Manager of BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, was part of the FOUR PAWS team that discovered the so-called "chain bear". “He was so tired and exhausted. He was at the end of his life, struggling to survive. I begged the restaurant worker to offer him fresh water,” states Mahmuti.

Three bears rescued

It was clear that no time could be wasted. “FOUR PAWS was able to carry out a rescue operation with short notice. But despite the fact we acted quickly, I feared Pashuk would not survive,” remembers Mahmuti. Yet thanks to the help of veterinarian Dr. Frank Göritz from our partner, Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) Berlin, and the strong will of Pashuk to fight for his life, this special bear made it and surprised us all. That day we rescued two other Albanian bears with a similar fate: male bear Tomi and female bear Gjina. The three traumatized animals arrived on the same day at BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina in Kosovo, ready to start their new lives.

A love story meant to be

It is hard to believe how fast Pashuk was able to recover from that very tough life. Thankfully, the wound around his neck has completely healed and thanks to intensive care in a species-appropriate home, the mental wounds have also slowly started to fade away. Not long after his arrival it became clear this handsome fellow had a special interest in his neighbor: lady Gjina. Today, they happily share a large enclosure where they receive high-quality care. “The story of Pashuk was a painful one, but with a happy ending”, Mahmuti says thankfully. 

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