Dushi was born in 2009 and - together with other wild animals - kept under the worst conditions at the Safari Park Zoo in Fier (Albania) for many years. The bear lived in a small, dirty cage with no access to fresh water or appropriate food. Due to the confinement and lack of stimulation, Dushi was in a poor physical condition, with clear behavioral disorders.
In October 2018 FOUR PAWS rescued Dushi together with ten other neglected wild animals from the zoo and brought her to a temporary accommodation in Tirana.
After FOUR PAWS received the green light from the Albanian authorities, Dushi’s journey to her new home in Germany began on April 3rd. Veterinarian Marc Gölkel from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) was already involved in Dushi’s rescue and took care of her well-being during the transfer. On April 5th, the FOUR PAWS bear ambulance finally arrived with Dushi at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz after a 40-hour drive through nine countries.
“We are happy to finally have brought Dushi to her new home. Our team at the sanctuary specialises in the care she now needs. After years of suffering in cruel keeping conditions, Dushi can now relax, enjoy much-needed room to move around and live a bear-friendly life. She has recovered well at Tirana Zoo, but at our sanctuary she can finally discover and live out her natural instincts."
Carsten Hertwig, bear expert at FOUR PAWS
Including Dushi, a total of 100 bears currently live in the care of FOUR PAWS in the sanctuaries in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kosovo and Vietnam.
A new chapter for Dushi
Already a day after her arrival at our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz, Dushi was able to explore her outdoor enclosure for the first time. She was very timid when she left her box, sniffed the grass and kept her nose in the fresh air. All these new impressions made the bear, who had only known concrete and cage bars so far, nervous, and she quickly ran back into her box. The animal keepers at the BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz are nevertheless very satisfied with Dushi's reaction, and will closely monitor her further development.
Update May 2020:
At the beginning of the month, the three-legged bear ended her hibernation and is becoming more active again. Dushi slept for over 6 months at our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz. That is quite a lot for a female bear who never had the chance to hibernate before.
Unfortunately, the caretakers are a little worried about her at the moment, because with the end of her hibernation, the behavioural disorders of the female bear have been increasing. She often seems stressed and seeks protection in her box. That behaviour isn’t really surprising though, because after such a long period of sleeping, Dushi now has to settle in again. We give her the time she needs and the team on-site cares lovingly for the bear.
Update May 2021:
Since Dushi's arrival at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz over two years ago 2019, for bear Dushi, a new chapter of life began. Today, the three-legged bear, despite her disabilities from her tough life in the past, has been adapting great into her new environment. After receiving regular vet checks, her health condition has improved a lot. Dushi can often be seen in the meadow relaxing or playing with water in her pond. She often grazes and picks the flowering dandelions.
Her favourite enrichment are the watermelon ice bombs and smoothie ice bombs that our animal caretakers prepare when the temperatures are getting warmer. When it comes to food preferences, Dushi is rather picky but at the moment she loves to eat carrots.
Update September 2021
Dushi has become a more confident and brave bear and is flourishing more and more with each passing day! Now Dushi is ready for a new adventure.
Her caretakers at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz have been working very hard to train Dushi in preparation to be moved to a different enclosure.
After several weeks of intensive work, her caretakers managed to successfully accomplish the transfer through a transport box without the use of anaesthesia.
It was a very special day for Dushi, and she managed it brilliantly. She was a little nervous, which is totally normal for a big day like this, but once she arrived at her new enclosure, she began exploring. First she checked the new neighbours, bears Michal and Tapsi, then sniffed at the trees, discovered new dens and hiding spots, and soon after, jumped into her new pond. Now, even with a missing front paw, she has easy access to the pond, and for the first time ever, she enjoyed a proper bath!