Bear Sanctuary Arbesbach

Source: and
In Austria, six brown bears are living in a bear sanctuary, one of the projects built by the organisation Four Paws. Bears rescued from poor living conditions can express their natural behaviours here, becoming true bears.
The project started in 1997 with the preparation of a portion of estate property for the bears. In 2007 the sanctuary was enlarged to house more bears and provide all the bears with more territory. Visitors’ facilities were also expanded at that time. The estate owners were happy to donate another piece of their land.

The sanctuary’s plants have remained intact where possible, with spruce and oaks. Fruit bushes have been planted in the visitor areas as decoration and to show what the bears eat. The natural landscape allows the bears extensive digging, playing and hunting for insects.

There are several enclosures, and the bears move frequently to keep the environment interesting. Artificial caves (for hibernation) and ponds for swimming have been created in the enclosures.

The bear sanctuary has focused on behaviour enrichment. The link here includes fine photographs and descriptions of the various methods used. These examples are also applicable to other animals.

In the visitor’s centre, one can hear about the bears and also about the terrible circumstances to which some bears are exposed. The work of Four Paws is, of course, also explained.
Examples of enrichtment methods