3rd October 2012: Vier Pfoten - an Austrian Animal Welfare Organization introduced the Bear Project in Prishtina



philosophy. If you want to learn more about their work – please kindly refer to their 

WEBpage:  http://www.vier-pfoten.at/

The vision of Vier Pfoten is a world without suffering of animals. 4 Pfoten unterstands themselves as advocate for those, who have no voices themselves – the animals. The philosophy of this non-profit organization is respect for all living beings and the deep conviction, that all living beings have a right to respectful treatment and the possibility to live a life which corresponds to their basic needs. Animals do have feelings and are living beings with subjective experiences and we, HUMAN beings are responsible for that.

Animal Protection, human beings protection (child protection, etc.) and environment protection are all closely linked together. We feel connected to all those, who live in peaceful and legal way with respect to one another and who engage for a safe/clean environment. As animal protection organization 4 Pfoten wants to contribute to this goal. 

Approximaltely 2 years ago when we (my husband and myself) moved to Kosovo, we learned about the terrible suffering of the bears in this country. 12 bears are kept either for amusement or commercial purposes only  in front of restaurants or in other places in very small cages under terrible conditions. Always an advocate of animals (we do have ourselves 5 animals at home, 3 cats, 2 dogs) and 5 others come daily to our house to get fed, I immediately contacted a friend of mine, who is working in marketing at 4Pfoten in Austria and she then gave me the contact of Mr. Carsten Hertwig, the responsible person at 4Pfoten for the bear projects.  Vier Pfoten is an international animal welfare organisation and as already written their vision is: a world without animal suffering. They work on longterm improvement by changing the legal framework.  Vier Pfoten has its headquarters in Vienna, but has already offices in 13 countries and is involved in international projects and campaigns.  There exist already 9 “Competence Centers” worldwide. The competence Center Bears (CCBears) is part of the project department with 5 “Competence Centers”: Big Cats, Stray Animals, Horses, Apes and Bears. 4Pfoten has 3 own bear sanctuaries with 49 bears, and is supporting also other bear projects and research and scientific work in this field.


The main goals of Bear Sanctuary Prishtina (BSP) are:

          With the support of VP Kosovo government to stop the private captivity of bears in Kosovo

          Kosovo government can implement the law to ban the private captivity of bears

          The former cage bears will live according to their characteristic behaviour

          BSP will be an international community center for nature, environment and animal welfare education


So we tried to get the politics interested in this project  - a very strong advocat amongst the Kosovan politicians is  H.E.Min.Dardan Gashi. Now private keepings of bears are illegal in Kosovo.  Therefore urgent shelter is needed for those 14 bears. It took quite some time to find the appropriate land and then a few months passed by without being able to start with the building of the bear sanctuary. But on the 3rd of October the Major of Pristina, Mr. Isa Mustafa, signed the papers for the land use (see attached photo) for the bear sanctuary. Now only the construction permit is still pending, until 4Pfoten finally can get active and start with the building of this sanctuary – Mr. Carsten Hertwig informed us at the last OeKG Meeting. We all were so happy that we finally can start with the realization of this project.  If we are lucky the first bear, Kassandra, may be freed even before Christmas and the others may follow latest by spring next year. And KOSOVO can tell another great success story of their country. 

Roswitha Brieger