UPDATE AT 5th MAY 2018 :
We are delighted to confirm that just after midnight on the 5th May 2018, the two new bears arrived at the Zoo, were unloaded, weighed and safely transferred to the indoor den areas of the existing bear sanctuary. Henk & Eso were left to rest overnight and recover from their long journey.
They were out first thing on the Saturday morning exploring their new surroundings. Whilst you are able to see the two young brown rescue bears, we have a temporary barrier in place so that they are not “surrounded and overwhelmed”, this will hopefully allow them to calm and relax in their new home and to start to get to know their keepers. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.
They are absolutely stunning and we are so proud to have been able to offer them a permanent home with us.
A year ago they were rescued from the roadside restaurant in Albania – you can see the state of them in the photo – a year on and look at them! Henk is the male standing at the back, Eso is the female, in the foreground.
Previous information :
January 2018 : The Zoo is extremely proud to confirm that we are able to offer a permanent home to two young brown bears, named Henk and Eso. Theirs is a sad story…
The Young bears are siblings and approximately 3 years old. They were probably the victims of illegal poaching and are thought to have been taken from the wild after their mother was shot. They were sold to the tourist trade and until recently were living in a small cramped cage at a roadside restaurant in Albania, where they were being used to “lure” tourists into the restaurant.
They were fed very little, only scraps from the restaurant kitchen and tip bits from passing tourists and their only water came from small rain puddles in their cage – which was FAR TO SMALL for such animals to be kept in. Both bears were malnourished and extremely thin, weighing approximately 70kg.
Thankfully on the 16th May 2017, the bears were rescued from their miserable existence and are now being cared for by the International Animal Rescue Centre – Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium (where our other 3 rescue bears; Carmen, Peggy and Suzy and the 4 ex-circus lions came from). The bears are now being well looked after, fed the correct seasonal diet, their fur is in much better condition and they have more room to move around.
However, this is only a temporary home for them in Belgium and once we have made the necessary alternations to our existing bear enclosure, we can transport Henk and Eso to their new forever home and help them to recover from their ordeal and allow them to become bears again.
If you would like to make a donation to help with their re-homing, the Zoo would be most grateful.
Please note that the images shown are off their small cage next to the roadside restaurant in Albania.
Pictured below, the bears enjoying life at the Help Centre, Belgium ,where dedicated staff have been looking after them. They have ample area to move around in now and these images show the bears enjoying playing with recently felled logs. We can’t wait to bring them to the Zoo!
Just look at the difference in both bears after being at the Natuurhulpcentrum for only a few months – they don’t look like the same bears!
The two bears are very similar in appearance, but the keepers at the help centre have given us a few pointers to help tell “who is who” .
The female Eso is smaller in body and head size and has a darker fur then Henk. You can tell by looking at the head: she has a deeper darker brown colour then Henk who has a more lighter tone.