Recently, we told you Ljubo, a bear in despair. In a shameful place in the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro, a sad and lonely brown bear has lived his whole life locked in a caged enclosure that barely allows him to stand up and stretch. He lives in that cage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, just so the owner can make money from tourists.
Ljubo lives in conditions of daily torture. This poor bear belongs in the forest, but instead, he is confined in a totally unsuitable space, with no room for him to roam, stretch, climb, forage, nest, explore, or socialize.
Even worse, he has no space to hide from a daily onslaught of visitors who come to throw scraps of fruit and vegetables that his owner sells to them to feed him, so they can take selfies for social media.
Ljubo is so traumatized he has resorted to self-harm, repeatedly biting himself.
The story of Ljubo, who is about five years old, is sordid, tragic and sad. He is an exhibit at the laughably named Prihvatiliste i Apurva Životinja Crna Gora (Shelter and Recovery for Animals). His owner claims Ljubo was abandoned on his doorstep when he was a baby – yet suspiciously, this happened shortly after two other baby bears the man owned were confiscated because of unsuitable conditions.
The authorities should have acted then but took no action to protect Ljubo. Local animal lovers took the owner to court but so far, the authorities have turned a blind eye to the situation, saying it’s difficult for them to solve!
IT IS OUTRAGEOUS! The authorities know that Ljubo is kept in appalling conditions and suffering every day, but they do nothing. Every day Ljubo remains in that cage is another day of shame for Montenegro and another day when animal cruelty goes unchecked. Please join us to fight to give Ljubo a better life.
With your help, we are tackling the authorities who should have acted but have not done so. We are now meeting with them regularly and pushing them to end his misery. With your help, we will fight to IMMEDIATELY get Ljubo better living conditions, and ultimately moved to a proper bear sanctuary.
We simply cannot stop thinking about this desperate bear. We can still see him biting his arms, chewing the bars that cage him, reaching out and staring at us almost beseechingly, surrounded by bits of rotten fruit on the otherwise barren ground around him. We MUST ACT NOW to lobby the government of Montenegro to take action to end this daily misery and cruelty.
Bear experts have verified that Ljubo’s living conditions are atrocious. International guidelines say bear enclosures must be at least 1,000 square meters (1,195 square yards) to allow them at least some semblance of natural behavior, including the ability to hide, forage, climb, walk, and run. Captive bears should also be provided with enrichment activities to stimulate mental health. Ljubo has none of this – just a life locked in hell, standing amid rotting fruit in a tiny, caged enclosure 365 days a year.
We MUST get him out of there! With your help, we will engage with the Montenegro Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to relocate him to a suitable bear sanctuary.