Bears in Turkey face many problems. Their habitat is under constant pressure, not only because of human population increase and the ever growing infrastructure projects, but also because of political unrest. To give an example, in 2010 Karacabey Bear sanctuary near Bursa in Turkey received three bear cubs from the east of Turkey. The mother bear had been killed in a bomb explosion. Two local animal keepers are taking care of the bears. The men show incredible devotion in caring for the small cubs, both day and night. It is very important for the local people to see this dedication, as it makes them aware that members of their own community devote their time and efforts to the welfare of animals. By the same token of appreciation, a traditional stone oven was built to bake traditional Turkish bread, not for people but for the bears! Bears in Mind funded the building of the stone oven in 2011.
It is the goal to develop an educational visitor centre at Karacabey Bear sanctuary, where people can learn everything about bears and the problems they face in the region. A veterinary facility will form part of this centre. This is urgently required as until now staff of ‘Second Chance’ (the NGO involved in the management, who are trained veterinarians) have been using the table in the tiny kitchen to carry out surgery on bears. Bears require these medical facilities because they are frequently wounded by hunters or poachers, or because of dental problems resulting from bad nutrition. Bears in Mind will help and give advice to Second Chance on bear husbandry and education activities whenever and wherever possible!