Photo credit: Associated Press
Ari and Ariana at the spacious bear sanctuary. Photo credit: Associated Press

Sonia Horon, Global Animal

Two brown bears from a Kosovo village were recently rescued after spending nearly ten years in captivity.

The two bears named Ari and Arina were cruelly kept in a 20-square-meter cage outside of a restaurant for entertainment.

The 10-year-old bears were rescued by an International animal charity group called Four Paws.

The disgruntled restaurant owner, Salih Shehu, had to be held back during the rescue operation. 

“It’s like taking a child from its father…I know I’m going to lose customers because whoever came spent most of their time with the bears,” he said.

Shehu also kept wolves, sheep, cows, snakes, dogs, along with 60 other species, and charged 50 cents per visitor.

Ari and Arina are now happily residing at a spacious bear sanctuary.

The Associated Press reports, “An Environment Ministry statement said the bears were happy with their new home, which lies outside the capital, Pristina.”

Private ownership of wild animals is not allowed in Kosovo but the rules are not strictly enforced. Officials also noted the number of wild bears has significantly fallen because of the destruction to their habitat as well as illegal hunting. 

Authorities are expected to rescue another 15 bears from the country soon.