WWF starts fundraising for Europe's only bear orphanage located in Romanian, Harghita County
The only bear cub orphanage in Europe, located in Hasmas Mountains in central Romania, is at risk of closing down for lack of funds after two donors have decided not to renew their support.

We strongly believe that the only option for the bear cubs abandoned in the Carpathian forests is their reintegration into the wild. The alternative is miserable: they are caught and taken into zoo’s, circuses or used as tools for touristic photography and end up all their lives in a cage made of iron and concrete, for public amusement.

Now you can change the future of the orphan bear cubs! Out of passion for this iconic species, Leo Bereczky has founded 10 years ago, the Center for Rehabilitation of Orphan bear cubs, or, shorter, the Bear Orphanage. The Center already managed to reintroduce into the wilderness more than 100 bears who would have been lost in a destiny of derision, else.

Although it’s the only orphanage of the kind from the European continent (where the bear cubs are fed,taken care of and monitored) all the project partners who have helped until now are withdrawing their financial support, leaving the bear cubs’ future uncertain. Given this, Leo calls to action all the wild nature lovers who wish for this center to continue its mission.

It’s our turn to offer the orphan bear cubs support. Starting today, the orphanage's future depends on you too! As follows, the future generations will enjoy the existence of the brown bear in a complete environmental circle. With your donation you directly contribute to the conservation of the brown bear, allowing the orphanage to continue its work for the upcoming generations.

LINK to a picture of two cubs in the Orphanage. 

How can you contribute/help?

You can take care of an orphan bear with just 5$ a month. This provides its food for one day. If you convince more than 5 friends to do the same, the same cub will have enough food for a week. With 30$ a month you can definitely say that each Tuesday you’re the one that feeds a bear cub.

Choose to transfer a monthly amount of money to support the orphan bears. Besides the food, each cub needs veterinarian care, secured spaces, but also qualified care and monitoring staff.

To keep functioning only,the Orphanage needs a total amount of 3.500$ every month, and to be able to grow its hosting capacity for an even higher number of orphan cubs, it needs to double that amount. Like this, the center will manage to invest money in better security systems, monitoring and research projects to protect the species on the long run.

How many Brown Bears are in Romania?

Romania is the country which hosts almost 40% of the entire bear population of the continent. There are European countries whose bear species are becoming extinct (Switzerland has only 2 bears left, given the most recent estimations) or where the bear can’t be found anymore (Hungary is just an example).

LINK to the map of the brown bear population in Europe.  

Why choosing to support the bear orphanage?

It is important to know that bears are a key species for the entire ecosystem where they live in, and also, the biodiversity of some large areas depends on them. Because of this, it is considered a species of maximum priority in conservation.

Until now, the Rehabilitation Center for Orphan Bears saved more than 100 cubs.Besides this, there’s another reason for which the center must be supported:the efforts that Leo has put into research and practice have brought new information about the species’ behavior and his work results contribute greatly to the knowledge and protection of the bears worldwide.

The method he uses is unique and the results are spectacular: he demonstrated the fact that the cubs can grow into healthy, mature specimens and are learning natural behaviors from one another, as long as the human intervention is kept minimum.

But, sadly, without your help, this story will end here. Without having tomorrow’s living assured, Leo won’t be able to continue helping the orphan cubs. Your support is extremely valuable now.

LINK to  a picture of 12 brown bear cubs in the Bear Orphanage 

Why do the cubs become orphans?

One of the biggest/largest carnivores alive, the brown bear is the victim of deforestation which destroy its habitat. Unfortunately, it’s still the victim of poaching, being hunted and used afterwards for its rare and expensive meat or fur.

The she-bears,scared of ripsaws or raced by hunters, run away to save themselves and leave behind the cubs which cannot keep up with their mothers. The main trigger of these events is human intervention: deforestation or illegal hunting of the female bears. When they are faced with dangers they leave behind their cubs, which are still too young to know how to defend themselves and end up without any real chance of surviving into the wild on their own.

While you read these lines, bear cubs in their first year of life are searching for their food. The Center has become the home for two generations where they will grow safely until they reach maturity.

How and since when does the orphanage work?

The Bear Orphanage was founded by Leo Bereczky ten years ago. He started the center with three cubs he found in the forest, which were abandoned by their mother.The center has 20 hectares and can host a maximum of 20 orphan bears.

The main working principle of the orphanage is minimum human intervention, but continuous monitoring is made by an expert. The center’s team consists of three persons: Leo and two other helpers. The cubs are fed by placing food indifferent areas of the pen, to have a similar experience to the one they would have in the wild. As in their regular habitat, some foods are found rarely during certain periods and frequently in other ones. Besides food and protection, the cubs are provided with a safe environment and veterinarian care. Once they leave the center, they are monitored with collars to track their evolution as reintegrated into the wild.

Help the Center continue its mission started ten years ago with your financial support.

LINK to an interview with Leonardo Bereczky talking about the Only Brown Bear Orphanage in Europe. 

What are the costs of the Orphanage?

To cover the basic needs, the food for the bear cubs (the food for only one bear costs an average of 4.000$ for two years) administrative expenses (transport, electricity) and medical care, the center needs approximately 50.000$ a year.

The Rehabilitation Center of the Orphan Bears could receive and host more cubs,invest into expanding the enclosures, protection systems for the cubs or monitoring them with GPS collars (they are very important in analyzing there integration of the animals back into the wild) if it would rely on incomes of 10.000$ a month.

Without a stable income, the future of the Center becomes as uncertain as the abandoned bears' into the wild.

10.000 friends of the nature can support the future of the orphanage with just 1$ a month. And we hope you are one of them!

LINK with a bear cub in the Orphanage, looking at you. 

Thank you and for any additional details and inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at: 

Adriana Trocea  || Media Relations

WWF Carpathian-Danube Program  

E-mail: [email protected] 


Alexandra Dumitrescu || Fundraising 

WWF Carpathian-Danube Program  

E-mail: [email protected] 

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