Bear "Kasandra" the first resident of the shelter for brown bears in Badovc
18/03/2013-The initiative of the Kosovo Institute for Nature Protection, which started years ago with its aim to remove the brown bears from the mini-zoos and accommodate them in a suitable natural habitat, has finally started to give its first results. With the help of the Foundation for Animal Protection Vier Pfoten, a shelter for brown bears has been set up in the proximity of lake Badovc. The first resident of the shelter is a bear called Kasandra, which was previously isolated in the buildings of the restaurant Gjeraqina near Duhle, Suhareka. With the aid of professional teams from Vier Pfoten, KFOR, KINP experts, and Kosovo Police, the bear was transported and placed in the shelter.
The opening of the shelter was attended by the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Dardan Gashi; minister of European Integration, Vlora Citaku; commander of KFOR, Volker Halbauer; and Austrian Ambassador in Kosovo, Johann Brieger.
Kosovo Institute for Nature Protection, which operates within the Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency has identified at least 15 brown bears that are kept in different "mini-garden" zoos. During this year, all these bears will be placed in the shelter set up in the vicinity of Lake Badovci. This will be possible thanks to the cooperation agreement which was signed between MESP and the Foundation for Animal Protection "Vier Pfoten". The agreement provides for tracing, transportation, maintenance and care for the brown bears in Badovc shelter. The project also foresees the training of the staff that will be taking care of the bears.
Such practices, where protected species of bears are sheltered in special half-natural shelters, are implemented in many countries worldwide. These practices along with the care for brown bears (Ursus Arctos), which are considered as endangered species, can also be used for tourism.
This case in Kosovo is the first one in the region that is being finalized, since Vier Pfoten has had similar attempts in Albania and Serbia, but they did not succeed.