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Captive bears live under dire conditions in many places around the world. In the Bear Forest in The Netherlands, rescued brown bears are offered a safe and bear-friendly life again. Here they can enjoy two hectares of forest with a waterfall, a small stream and a pond. The Bear Forest project started in 1993 and was one of the very first of its kind in Europe. At the moment 11 brown bears live in the Bear Forest, each with their own tragic history. In total 34 bears have lived in the Bear Forest since it started. Read more about the history and the former inhabitants of the Bear Forest here!

The bears’ wild habitat is used as an example for the residents of the Bear Forest, to stimulate the bears’ natural behaviour. They live together with a pack of grey wolves, animals that coexist with bears in the wild. They receive a special diet, based on what is available throughout the year in nature. This is known as our Natural Feeding Programme (NFP). The NFP is characterized by a seasonal variation in calories (low in winter time, high in the autumn). The diet also consists of a large variety of food items which are similar to the food a bear can find in its natural habitat.

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