Dushi was born in 2009 and lived in terrible conditions at the Safari Park Zoo in Fier, Albania for years. The bear was kept 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, and presented with clear behavioral disorders.
In October 2018, FOUR PAWS rescued Dushi along with ten other neglected wild animals from the zoo in a dramatic seizure and closure of the property by authorities. Dushi was brought 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. The FOUR PAWS bear ambulance traveled with Dushi for 40-hour drive through nine countries from Albania to Germany.
On April 5th, the Dushi was warmly welcomed at BEAR SANCTUARY Mueritz.
“We are happy to finally have brought Dushi to her new home. Our team at the sanctuary specializes 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
Great news! With the addition of this sweet bear, there are now 100 bears being cared for in species-appropriate conditions at seven FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries around the world!
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A new chapter for Dushi
Already a day after her arrival at our BEAR SANCTUARY Mueritz, 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 Mueritz 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 Mueritz. 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 behavioral disorders of the female bear have been increasing. She often seems stressed and seeks protection in her box. That behavior 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 Mueritz over two years ago in 2019, a new chapter of her life has begun. 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 significantly. 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 favorite enrichments 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, larger enclosure.
After several weeks of intensive work, her caretakers managed to successfully move the bear in a transport box without the use of anesthesia.
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 neighbors, 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!