Dancing bears were still performing on the streets of Serbia back in 1999 / 2000. Serbian ngo ARKA worked with the Ministry to end this practice and they confiscated six bears. A seventh bear, a 3-legged named Elvis, was later rescued. All these bears stayed in a temporary shelter in a small town called Banostor. The government promised to built a permanent bear sanctuary for these bears, but never did. With the help of several foreign ngo’s (Bears in Mind amongst them) ARKA managed to care for these bears.
Throughout the years, Bears in Mind helped ARKA with food for the bears, renovations of the enclosures and donated transport crates. The remaining four (2016) bears are doing well. ARKA aims to gradually expand the sanctuary in order to provide shelter to more bears and other wildlife in need. The sanctuary will also include a visitor centre in the future.
The final support from Bears in Mind came in 2019 when we provided necessary funds to install sliding doors in order to connect the different enclosures, the roof of the indoor enclosures was replaced as well. The outdoor enclosure of the bears was expanded and an extra pond was created, so the bears could enjoy the outdoors much more!