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World Society for the Protection of Animals

Stamping out wildlife crime Animal Protector – one year on PLUS: Treks: make 2012 your Olympic year

Main feature

How you can help us build a new home for captive bears

Spring 2012 | Issue 12


A new year of protecting animals New launches in 2012 WSPA’s Big Bear Build It’s been an exciting start to 2012 with the launch of WSPA’s Big Bear Build appeal that could raise funds so we can expand the bear sanctuary in Romania to house 25 bears currently held in cruel captivity. Once the final extension is built, we can rescue the bears and so make history by ending the cruel captivity of bears in Romania. Turn to page 8 to discover how your donations could be turned into a new woodland home for rescued bears to live in, protected from harm. Welcome to your first 2012 issue of WSPA News – the magazine for supporters for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), with news and stories of how your support of WSPA helps protect animals across the world. This issue is a Bear Sanctuary Special, with features on the sanctuary in Romania, as we launch our Big Bear Build appeal.

Wildlife Crime Unit partnership There was more good news earlier this year with the launch of WSPA’s partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service’s Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU). Read on page 4 how the Met’s WCU is clamping down on criminals committing crimes against wild animals. Going wild for WSPA WSPA recently hosted our Wild for WSPA fundraising event at Chelsea

03 Bears rescued from suffering 04 Stamping out wildlife crime

en Making miracles happ for donkeys

05 Wild for WSPA event 06 Residents of the Romanian sanctuary

WSPA supporters A huge thank you to all ed to last year’s who generously donat g Zvika Tamuz lpin Christmas appeal, he ny abused and ma te ilita rescue and rehab Israel. Your efforts abandoned donkeys in ,000 to help have raised almost £200 efforts in giving s les Zvika continue his tire k and injured sic for t en life-saving treatm shelter. donkeys at the Pegasus

08 URGENT APPEAL: Stop the suffering of captive bears 10 Louise’s Romanian Bear Adventure 11 Victor’s book – Bear Sanctuary 12 The woman dedicated to saving bears 14 Animal Protector – one year on

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football club, showcasing WSPA’s campaigns to address animal cruelty to an audience of 180 guests. With live pop acts, royalty and celebrities, it was a night to remember and the evening raised £40,000 to help protect animals from suffering. Read more on page 5. I hope you like this special issue of WSPA News and enjoy reading about how you’ve helped animals through your support for WSPA. The difference your generosity makes to animals’ lives is extraordinary. Thank you for continuing to help WSPA protect animals from cruelty and suffering around the world.

Follow us on twitter at uk mycuppa tin no m/ .co ter wit w.t ww

16 Make 2012 your Olympic year

Contact WSPA We would love to hear what you think of WSPA News. Please get in touch with us at: WSPA, 222 Grays Inn Road London, WC1X 8HB Telephone: 020 7239 0500 Fax: 020 7239 0654 Email: Editor: Sarah Hemingway Designer: Printer: Cover photo: Rudi © WSPA Unless otherwise stated all images are the copyright of WSPA. WSPA News is published by the UK office (registered charity 1081849) of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)


Rescued from suffering: Milla, Shama and Lala

It has been a hopeful year for the bears of Pakistan. More are being rescued and freed from the cruel blood sport of bear baiting – in which bears are tied up by their owners to then be attacked and mauled by trained dogs as people watch for their entertainment. Saving bears from this life of suffering is only made possible by WSPA supporters’ dedication to stopping such cruelty. We’ve received happy news from our local partner in Pakistan, the Bioresource Research Centre (BRC), about three recently rescued Asiatic Black bears. Two out of the three bears, Milla (meaning gracious) and Shama (which means candle) pictured above, have recovered from the injuries they sustained in bear baiting contests and have joined the other rescued bears at the WSPA-funded sanctuary.

Time to heal The third rescued bear is Lala, meaning tulip. Lala is still in the quarantine area of the sanctuary, as she has a severe injury to her muzzle that has not yet healed. BRC staff have been monitoring her health carefully and we’ll keep WSPA supporters updated on her progress.

Milla – the gracious one Milla is around five years old and has a reddish/black shaggy coat. She bears the scars of her many bear baiting encounters on her muzzle and is blind in one eye. Since her arrival at the sanctuary, her health has improved thanks to expert care from sanctuary staff. Milla confidently left her quarantine enclosure and staff say that she’s enjoying her food and exploring her new home with Shama.

Shama – the candle Shama is also about five years old and has a thick black coat. When Shama was rescued, her muzzle was badly injured, but she is now healed and healthy. Shama is often spotted sitting peacefully with Milla in the grounds of the sanctuary among the shrubs and long grass. Dr Fakhar-i-Abbas, founder and director of the BRC told WSPA News “It’s always lovely to see the bears being released into the sanctuary and watch them starting their new life.”

You make it possible It’s all down to the amazing generosity of WSPA supporters that these bears have been rescued and can now live out the rest of their days free from the fear, pain and suffering that dominated their lives for so long. The fight to end bear baiting is not over, but rest assured that with your continued support, WSPA and BRC will keep working to stamp out this terrible practice.

News just in: three more bears rescued At the time of going to press, there was more good news. Thanks to you, three more bears have been rescued from bear baiting. Reech, meaning bear, Pari, meaning fairy and Shabna, meaning dew are all recovering well in the quarantine area of the sanctuary.

Write your own fairytale

WSPA supporters are an essential part of the story of rescued bears. To celebrate the launch of WSPA’s Big Bear Build appeal, (see page 8), WSPA News is inviting supporters to be inspired by our very own Hansel and Gretel (above) and write a short (400 words max) animal-based fairytale. Read the real Hansel and Gretel’s extraordinary story on page 7. The winning story will be published on WSPA UK’s website, so set your inner creative spirit free and get writing!

How to enter:

Please send your story to arrive by Monday 23 April 2012 and include your name and address. Email your story to: Or post to: WSPA News, WSPA, 5th Floor, 222 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8HB We’re sorry we won’t be able to return any postal entries, so you may want to keep a copy.

What are QR codes? QR means Quick Response code. They are printed codes, scanned using a mobile Smartphone – a phone that allows access to the internet and contains applications, known as ‘apps’.

Why use QR codes?

At WSPA, we want to bring our supporters closer to the animals you help, by giving you information quickly and easily. Scanning the QR codes with your Smartphone will take you straight to the WSPA website, where you can watch wonderful videos and see photos of animals – just with a few clicks on your mobile Smartphone.

How to use QR codes

Open up the QR app (you will need to download the app first) and hold it over any of the QR codes printed in WSPA News. Try scanning the QR code above to watch videos of bears in their forest home. Look out for more QR codes in WSPA News and access exciting new information about the animals you help.



Stamping out wildlife crime As a WSPA supporter, you understand the true value of animals and how important it is that we protect them from cruelty and suffering. But sadly, across the world, millions of animals are valued only for how much their body parts and fur can be sold for.

WSPA supporters may have read previously about an exciting new partnership between WSPA and the Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, set up to to fight the criminals who commit these appalling crimes against animals.

Animals at risk in UK and abroad London is a major hub for the illegal wildlife trade, both in the UK and internationally. WSPA UK’s Simon Pope said: “This is not some niche, illicit trade carried out by petty part-time villains. It is a major source of revenue for a global network of hardened criminals, gangs and drug lords – of which London is a hotspot.”

A new generation of officers Without the specialist skills and knowledge of the WCU, wildlife crime in London would go unchallenged. WSPA has provided the necessary funding to secure the future of the Met’s WCU – allowing the current staff to pass on their extensive and valuable knowledge to incoming unit officers – as well as expanding the unit so that they are much better equipped to tackle crimes against wildlife. 4


ffe /WSPA tcli ©©Christopher Ra

Criminals beware

WSPA News shares the horrifying details of just a small array of ‘products’ seized as part of the work of the Met’s WCU tackling wildlife crime. A three-metre polar bear skin, seized in Westminster, is thought to have been smuggled into the UK from Canada. The size of a large dining room table, police officers were shocked how anyone would have been able to smuggle something so enormous into the UK.

©©Christopher Ratcliffe/WSPA

Each year, tens of millions of animals, including bears, rhinos, turtles, tigers and snakes, are snatched from the wild or bred in captivity as part of the illegal trade in wildlife ­– which is estimated to be worth up to £12 billion every year. These animals suffer terribly at the hands of the thieves involved – criminals that know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Horrifying items seized

Some of the most sickening of the seized items were two newborn tiger cubs, confiscated from a dealer in Islington. No bigger than kittens, these endangered animals were poached from the wild and killed before they even had the chance to open their eyes. These cubs were then sold on London’s black market for £20,000. But these defenceless animals paid a far heavier price – just to be stuffed and mounted as a ‘decoration’.

©©Christopher Ratcliffe/WSPA

CAMPAIGN Two more items from the list of horrors are these two fur coats. One is made from an endangered snow leopard and the other from a tiger (also endangered). Seized in Westminster by the police, these coats would fetch almost £10,000 together on the black market. Again, two rare animals have paid with their lives for the sake of someone’s fashion whim.

The man dedicated to tackling wildlife crime Sergeant Ian Knox is Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit, and helped set up the unit in 2003. For almost ten years, he has dedicated his time in the Met to tackling hundreds of cases of wildlife crime, seizing thousands of illegal items in the process. Ian Knox told WSPA News: “I am delighted that WSPA has decided to contribute a significant amount of money to the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit. The extra funding will pay for more staff to be able to target more criminals who exploit animals to line their own pockets.” Ian told us: “The types of crime that we deal with are not just involved in one trade, but many different ones – fashion, taxidermy (stuffed animals), objects of art, Traditional Asian medicines. Donations from WSPA supporters will allow us to deal with these crimes more effectively in the years to come.”

Wildlife crime facts… The Metropolitan Police has seized over 30,000 endangered species items since 1995. In 2008 the Metropolitan Police seized thousands of pounds worth of ivory products, some manufactured in the UK, including 24 whole elephant tusks. Europe’s largest collection of rhino horn (including 129 individual horns) was seized in Kensington, London (Operation Charm, Wildlife Trade: The Facts 2011).

Want to do more to tackle wildlife crime? Take a look at this website which shows you other ways you can help us campaign for change. Or, for a faster way to look right now, why not scan this QR code into your mobile phone? Need help with QR codes? Turn to page 3.

Are you Wild for WSPA? 180 people attended the Wild for WSPA charity fundraising event on Thursday 23 February at Under the Bridge in the grounds of Chelsea Football Club. Hosted by Christopher Biggins and organised by the Wild for WSPA Committee, the event launched WSPA’s 2012 – 2016 campaigns to address the most significant causes and effects of animal cruelty and suffering in the world. The audience, which included HRH Princess Beatrice of York, heard from guest speakers: actor Rosie Marcel, Zac Goldsmith MP, film producer George Duffield, vet Emma Milne and actor Miranda Richardson, who each introduced a campaign video from WSPA. In between speeches, attendees were entertained by music acts: Tay Devlin, Kamaliya and Roberto Ares and Jackson Scott. The event raised over £40,000 for WSPA. Over the next five years, WSPA must raise £61.5m to deliver these four priority campaigns: to protect wild animals; to protect farm animals; to protect the animal victims of disasters; to protect the lives of dogs from mass antirabies culls. Campaigns that, individually and combined, will change the world for animals. WSPA will be writing to UK supporters about these campaigns and to ask for your help in raising this considerable target. In the meantime, you can take a look at each of the four videos prepared for our Wild for WSPA event, at All Wild for WSPA event images © Jason Alden / WSPA




Residents of the Romanian sanctuary Thanks to the generous compassion of supporters like you, these bears have a safe home and live happily at the Romanian bear sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to bears of all ages, sizes and characters, so read on for a ‘who’s who’... Meet Lydia, who is 20 years old and her sweetheart Cristi, who is a spritely 30. At 10 years her senior, you could say Cristi is a bit of an older gentleman friend for Lydia. Their close bond came through tragic circumstances. For 10 years, Cristi and Lydia were kept under lock and key in the same pitifully small cage behind a restaurant in Romania, and were used to attract passing tourists. Being held in such captivity would have caused extreme mental anguish for both bears, and they suffered physically too. They were fed on scraps, not nearly enough to sustain these huge creatures. They had no shelter from the scorching summer sun and no den to hibernate in during the harsh Romanian winters.

The lovers: Lydia and Cristi share an affectionate moment by one of the pools

It’s only thanks to WSPA supporters that we and our partner Millions of Friends Association (MFA) were able to rescue Lydia and Cristi in 2005 and bring them to the bear sanctuary near Zarnesti in Romania. This loveable pair were released into the freedom of the forest enclosure and their mental and physical recovery began. Today, Cristi and Lydia remain inseparable. With her distinctive sandy-coloured coat, Lydia can usually be found playing by the pools or making dens, whilst Cristi, with his shiny darker coat, plays with sticks nearby.

The elderly lady – Ursula Ursula is one of the sanctuary’s more senior residents, at an estimated 31 years old (a very good age for a bear), Ursula is the only Asiatic Black bear to live at the sanctuary. Rescued from an inadequate zoo four years ago, Ursula is partially blind and so lives in a quiet forest enclosure, where she can’t be upset by the boisterous, younger bears. Ursula’s blindness is due to cataracts 6


The elderly lady: Ursula rests near the bushes in her peaceful area of the WSPA-funded sanctuary


The lovers – Lydia and Cristi

BEARS SPECIAL in her eyes, probably as a result of a poor diet during her 28 long years in captivity. Considering her age and the suffering she has endured, Ursula is in good health and has adapted well. She particularly loves the cosy den we built for her.

The siblings – Hansel and Gretel Hansel and Gretel are brother and sister. This handsome pair were born into captivity in 2004, in a run-down zoo in Romania. Their owner kept them both in a dingy, dark room with nothing to occupy them and that nobody came to clean. Thanks to WSPA supporters, these sibling bears were rescued along with their dad, Ionica – and all three were brought to the safety of the sanctuary in 2006. As you can see, Hansel and Gretel now live freely and happily in the open space and peace of the sanctuary. They are inseparable and are often seen playing in the pools or sitting together in the sunshine. Along with the other bears at the sanctuary, these siblings eat up to 70 kilos of food a week each – that’s equal to around 440 mushrooms – a favourite food of Hansel and Gretel.

The teenager – Odi Born in 1993, Odi was kept in a small cage measuring only 1.5 metres by 2 metres for twelve long years. She was fed only on corn – an unnatural and unhealthy diet for bears, which need a varied diet of fruit, vegetables and some meat.

The siblings: Hansel and Gretel sit contentedly together near the dense foliage of their woodland home

Fortunately, thanks to kind WSPA supporters, we were able to rescue Odi from her miserable captivity and bring her to the sanctuary in 2005. Odi’s favourite pastime is to swim in the pools and race up trees, playing with her other bear companions. And as you can see, this teenage bear loves nothing more than sitting in a tree!

The shy one – Suzi Now 16 years old, Suzi used to be abused as a performing bear in a Romanian circus. Kept in a small cage and only taken out to perform – Suzi endured a traumatic life for years. Understandably then, when Suzi was rescued and brought to the sanctuary, she was very nervous. Used only to the confines of a cage, Suzi was alarmed by the openness of the sanctuary woodland and would limit herself to a small area, hugging a nearby tree for reassurance. It took over a month for Suzi to get used to her freedom and relax enough to start exploring the rest of the sanctuary. She now loves to roam her forest home and sits by the streams and pools.

The teenager: Odi loves climbing

the large trees in the sanctuary

Help give more bears a safe home To discover how you could help WSPA build the final expansion to the sanctuary, so that it can be home for around 25 more bears currently enduring cruel captivity, turn to page 8. To watch videos and see more pictures of bears like these,
visit or, for a faster way to look right now, why not scan this QR code into your mobile phone? Need help with QR codes? Turn to page 3. The shy one: Seen here hugging a tree for reassurance, Suzi is now much more confident and enjoys roaming her forest home WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 12


Starting this springtime Once the snow has thawed, our partner in Romania, Millions of Friends Association (MFA), can start clearing debris from the land, leaving plenty of trees for bears to climb. Then work can start on constructing an access roadway for vehicles to bring in the vast quantities of food and supplies necessary to feed and care for so many bears.

Natural forest habitat WSPA needs the help of our supporters to provide a safe home so that we can rescue the remaining bears. Unless we expand the sanctuary, these bears will remain trapped in tiny cages, fed on scraps and enduring the mental trauma that a wild animal experiences when held in cruel captivity. The extension to the sanctuary will feature tall oak and hazel trees, plenty of shrubs and vegetation, and a natural spring. The meadowland will contain fresh water pools, in which the bears can cool off and play. Dens will be built so the rescued bears have somewhere warm to hibernate throughout the bitterly cold winter. But unless we can raise the funds needed – just £3.10 per square metre of expanded sanctuary – all this will only be a dream that the bears will never get to experience.

Baloo’s story

Stop the suffering of captive bears Rescuing bears from a life of suffering in cruel captivity has always been close to the hearts of WSPA supporters. Tragically, there are still 25 bears in Romania held in cruel captivity, enduring terrible physical and mental trauma, every day. These bears too need to be rescued. They too need a safe home where they can climb trees and roam across meadows and woodland. Their years imprisoned in cages have made it impossible for them to survive in the wild. But this sanctuary is now full – there is no more room for any more bears. The only way they can be rescued is if we first expand the sanctuary.

Despite her famous name, Baloo is a female bear. With the help of WSPA supporter funds, 11-year-old Baloo was rescued in 2006 and lives in the peace and safety of the bear sanctuary. But life wasn’t always like this for Baloo. She spent the first few years of her life locked in a small rusted cage measuring around 4 metres square, used to attract tourists to an adjoining restaurant. It was no life for any animal and would have been full of trauma and suffering for this sizeable bear.

Anguish and distress Such appalling conditions day in, day out, would have meant terrible anguish and distress for Baloo. Without the help of WSPA supporters, Baloo would have spent the rest of her life in a cage.

Power to end bear cruelty in Romania The suffering that Baloo experienced is a fading memory and totally absent from her everyday life, which is now full of

The Big Bear Build In February this year, WSPA launched the Big Bear Build appeal, to help raise funds to cover the costs of building a large extension that can offer sanctuary for around 25 bears, enabling them to be rescued from cruel captivity. With 80,000 square metres of land generously donated by the local authority in Romania, WSPA now needs to raise the funds needed to develop the expanded area, making it a safe and suitable home for rescued bears. We need your help – and now. You could help WSPA to make history, by ending the cruel captivity of bears in Romania, once and for all. Please support our Big Bear Build appeal today. 8


Rescued from harm: Baloo lives peacefully in her forest home, free from her past cruelty and suffering.

URGENT APPEAL peacefulness. But the sad fact is, without expanding the sanctuary, those 25 bears still enduring cruel captivity will go on doing so for the rest of their lives. It’s a harsh truth – but one that you can help stop from happening. As a WSPA supporter, you have the power to help change the lives of these animals. A donation to our Big Bear Build appeal could mean that, one day soon, these remaining captive bears can join Baloo to enjoy a new life at the sanctuary, freed forever from their current trauma and suffering.

Home for a bear – at just £3.10 a square metre It costs just £3.10 to develop one square metre of land, transforming it into a sanctuary suitable for a rescued bear, so a gift of £30 from you could pay for 10m² of sanctuary extension. Add up all the 80,000 square metres needed and we will have created an area large enough to provide a life-long home for many more rescued bears. Each square metre could become a freshwater pool or a space of meadow for a bear to play in.

Fill out your form to choose how many sq metres of the extension you’d like to develop Help build a safe new home for bears

Just decide the number of metres your donation can buy and the expansion to the sanctuary can get underway. Your donation could make you part of history for bears – each metre of expanded sanctuary brings us closer to the end of their cruel captivity in Romania.

Call 0845 0777 500 (during office hours) Visit

Keep up-to-date You can follow the progress of the build that you are making possible, at or, for a faster way to look right now, why not scan this QR code into your mobile phone?

We know that WSPA supporters care passionately about animals’ well-being, so please donate to our Big Bear Build today. Each square metre you support could help become a life-long home for a bear that will otherwise continue to suffer in cruel captivity. Be a part of history for bears. Please donate to WSPA’s Big Bear Build appeal today.

Need help with QR codes? Turn to page 3.

I want to stop bear cruelty in Romania Please print your details clearly below

£30 could pay for 10m² of the sanctuary extension £45 could turn 14m² of land into a safe home for bears £65 could clear 32m² of land to build on I would prefer to donate £ 

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CODE: 12046WMA003

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WSPA acknowledge donations over £5. If you do not want an acknowledgement for your donation please tick here Make your Gift worth more with gift aid, at no extra cost to you. Please treat all donations I make or have made to WSPA in the past four years as Gift Aid, until further notice . *To qualify for Gift Aid you must pay an amount of UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax each year, at least equal to the tax that WSPA will reclaim on your donations in the appropriate tax year (currently 25p for every £1 given).

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Your donation will help WSPA to protect animals from cruelty and suffering, including those featured in this appeal. 9


WSPA Romanian Bear Adventure A trip of a lifetime

The breathtaking mountain scenery and sweeping forests of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, where wild bears still roam free, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. In September 2011, WSPA fundraiser Louise Millward (pictured far left with fellow trekker Amy Abbott) visited this beautiful unspoilt area, when she took part in WSPA’s Romanian Bear Adventure. Louise shares her trek diary with WSPA News…

Day 2:

Stunning scenery and sun After a good (and uneventful!) night’s sleep, I woke to a beautiful sunny day, perfect for our first day of trekking. Soon we were walking through stunning alpine scenery and breathing crisp, clean air. After lunch and a scenic walk around Lake Bolboci, we trekked through a valley dotted with Swiss-style chalet houses, along a stream and up to the hotel where we would rest overnight.

Day 3: Day 1:

Our Romanian Bear Adventure begins I met all my fellow trekkers bright and early at Heathrow airport. Having a group photo before catching our flight was a good icebreaker and everyone is mixing well. After arriving at Bucharest, we caught our coach transfer north to the hotel where we would spend our first night in Transylvania. With such strong associations, I couldn’t help but dream of vampires and Count Dracula…

Stunning scener y: trekkers enjo y the Romanian mountain landscapes 10


Wild bear encounter! This morning’s trek incorporated a visit to the famous Lalomitei cave (head torches needed!) and its picturesque church. After lunch, our trek took us through beautiful woodland. Suddenly, our trek leader came to an abrupt stop, signalling for us all to do the same and to be quiet. He had spotted a wild bear about five metres away from the track. The bear was sitting down, eating raspberries in its big paws. I could not believe it – a wild bear just yards away! We kept together on the path, enraptured and a little bit scared, until the bear ambled off into the forest. What an experience!

Team spirit: Louise (front row, seco WSPA-funded bear sanctuar y

Day 4:

Team spirit spurs us on This was our longest day of trekking – nearly 20km – but with the group bonding so well, we had fun and good chats along the many miles. We were walking at higher altitudes than before and in hot sunshine; it definitely took a bit of getting used to. I congratulated myself for having trained before coming out here – lots of brisk walks and climbing stairs – but the leaders made sure the trek accommodated everyone, whatever their fitness level.

Day 5:

Final stage and ‘Dracula’s Castle’ All that walking and fresh air meant I slept like a log last night and woke up raring to go. Just a few hours trekking in the morning and we reached the ‘finish line’. After lunch, we spent the afternoon exploring the spectacular Bran Castle (more famously known as Dracula’s castle) before a celebratory meal in Braşov. Tomorrow, we visit the WSPA-funded sanctuary and the rescued bears. Everyone is so excited – raising money to help these bears was the motivation behind everyone doing the trek.

at the nd from right) and her fellow trekkers


Day 6:

Visit to the Bear Sanctuary! The final two-kilometre walk up the road to the sanctuary entrance was a very emotional one, considering how far we had trekked to get here. Our first few moments at the sanctuary were unforgettable. As we turned a corner, we instantly saw a couple of bears in their woodland home in front of us. They were tussling over ‘rights’ to the pool – won by a very satisfied bear who swam into the water, started playing with a stick and sticking his four paws in the air as he floated about! Then we saw Max, a blind male bear who had previously featured in a WSPA appeal, and Ursula, a female Asiatic Black bear who sadly is also blind. They have both suffered so much, but thank goodness are now safe and cared for at the sanctuary. It was wonderful to see them, free to roam in a woodland sanctuary and to know that each been rescued from cruel captivity, thanks to WSPA

Book your place on WSPA’s Romanian Bear Adventure

supporters. I have a moment of sadness when I allow myself to think of the bears that are still suffering in cruel captivity, some just miles away. But I am hopeful that WSPA will be able to raise funds to expand the sanctuary so these bears can also know freedom and kindness. Then there were a few more tears ­– and smiles – when Victor Watkins, WSPA’s wildlife advisor and bear expert, awarded each trekker with their certificate. I feel very proud.

Don’t miss the chance to see the rescued bears in person – book your place on WSPA’s 2012 Romanian Bear Adventure today. If our Big Bear Build appeal is successful (see page 8), you could be the first group to see the expanded sanctuary and meet more rescued bears.

Trek dates:

Day 7:

9 – 15 September 2012 8 – 14 September 2013

Memories to take home We spent the morning discovering Romania’s capital Bucharest, before heading off to the airport and our flight back to London. I read over my trek diary on the flight, savouring the memories that I am sure will last me a lifetime. What an amazing experience – definitely one to tell the grandchildren one day!

Take your first step to helping Romania’s rescued bears: Call: Jane Rockliffe or Madge Williams on 0800 316 9772 Email: Visit: to find out more.

Seeing the bears: Louise’s own photos of Sophia (above) and Ursula (below) at the sanctuary

We did it: A joyful moment near the

finish line

Don’t miss: Victor’s book – Bear Sanctuary For more than two decades, Victor Watkins, Senior Wildlife Advisor at WSPA and our very own bear expert, has worked tirelessly to rescue bears from cruel captivity. Told in his own words, Bear Sanctuary is full of Victor’s personal stories and stunning photographs. You can buy a copy of this wonderfully illustrated book at amazon. Just type in ‘Bear Sanctuary’ in the search bar.

Give a gift £500 and receive a signed copy If you choose to give a gift of £500 or more to our Big Bear Build appeal on page 8, we will send you your very own signed copy of Victor’s Bear Sanctuary as an extra special thank you for your kindness and generosity. WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 12


One woman dedicated to saving bears in Romania

Cristina Lapis

Cristina Lapis has devoted her life to rescuing bears from cruel captivity in Romania and is founder and president of WSPA’s local partner Millions of Friends Association. Cristina took time out of her busy life to share her experiences with WSPA News and explains why extending the Romanian bear sanctuary is so important… At what moment did you decide to dedicate your life to helping bears? In 1998 in Romania, we discovered a bear lying listlessly in a cage, Maya, who had become too weak to stand, her hunger was so great. All she could do was lie in her cage. My husband and I cared for her for three months, giving her medicines to help her regain her strength, but tragically, her suffering was just too much and she died in my arms before we were able to rescue her. That moment stayed with me forever and that was when I decided to give my life to saving the other bears still imprisoned in such cruel conditions – in memory of Maya.

one of the largest bears in the sanctuary and such a sizeable bear would have suffered terrible mental frustration from being chained to a fence, unable to roam around.

How did that make you feel? I was often depressed and sometimes I felt I couldn’t take all this cruelty, but I knew I must go on – I’d made a promise in memory of Maya to not let other bears suffer like she did.

What is the worst case of cruelty to a bear you have ever seen? Depriving any bear of its natural life and putting it in a cage is terribly cruel. Bears belong to the forest and the natural world. If I had to name a bear who suffered most, it is Max the blind bear. He was probably blinded by severe blows to his head as a cub. His owner wanted to make him totally dependent and destroy his natural senses. Max was confiscated from his owner who had chained him to a fence for years as a tourist attraction for passers by. Max is 12


Peace at last : After year of abuse and suffering, Max the blind bear lives contentedly in his calm, spacious surroundings

BEARS SPECIAL Out of all the bears you have rescued, whose was the most memorable rescue and why? The most memorable was Martinico, a male bear who we rescued from a local monastery. I sent a television crew with hidden cameras to interview the monks and they asked for a payment of over £6,000 in exchange for Martinico. I had to argue strongly with them to be able to rescue this bear, which we did successfully in 2007.

Have you ever been in personal danger during a rescue? Bear owners often threaten me. Once, a bear owner actually shut my husband and our vet in a cage with a bear, when they entered to give the bear an anesthetic. This action put their lives at risk as bears are wild animals.

What is the main challenge when rescuing a bear? The most important thing is to rescue a bear as quickly as possible, because there is a danger they will be moved or even killed before we can reach them, once the bear owners know what we intend to do. Sadly, this has happened in the past to some of the bears when it was too difficult to rescue them immediately.

You plan to extend the sanctuary this year. Why is this so important? There simply isn’t anywhere to house bears if they are rescued – except the sanctuary. These bears can’t be released back into the wild as they have been in captivity too long and simply would not survive. The sanctuary is the only hope bears have of a life free from suffering and cruel captivity. We know that there are at least 25 more bears who urgently need rescuing, but until an extension is built, there is no room for any more bears – not one.

Do they usually recover from their injuries and trauma? Surprisingly, yes. Sometimes they can be a bit nervous at first when we release them into the space of the sanctuary. Many will hug the first tree they see for reassurance. Some have injuries they will never recover from, like Mura, who came from a circus and has problems with her back legs and Max who is blind. Most adapt well and gain a new lease of life.

How do you feel when a bear is released into their new forest home? When a new bear is released, it gives me the power to go on and I forget all the difficulties and challenges that are part of the daily effort in helping captive bears.

Of all the bears you have rescued, who is your favourite? My favourite bears are Cristi and Lydia, who were two of the first bears I fed through the bars of their restaurant cages, all that time ago in 1998, while my husband and I searched for a way to end their captivity. They still recognise me and my voice. They are living proof of the promise I made to help them and other bears. Maya will also always have a place in my heart because she became the motivation for my life rescuing bears.

Your wish is to rescue the remaining bears still in cruel captivity in Romania. How important are WSPA supporters in helping you make this dream a reality? I can’t do it without them. I am so grateful to WSPA supporters for their generous donations in giving bears a new, safe home. I wish that captive bears all over the world can live like the bears in the WSPA-funded sanctuary, so I shall continue to help other countries to build sanctuaries. Then I will take comfort that I kept my promise to Maya and the other bears.

What do bears suffer from when they are forced to live in captivity? Many bears are snatched from the forest as cubs, their mother probably shot. These orphaned cubs are then sold to people who keep them in small cages – people who don’t know how to treat an animal. These bears suffer through losing their freedom to climb trees, swim in rivers and roam in the vast forests. Many of these bears spend their lives suffering mental anguish, pacing their small cages, waiting for their next inadequate meal.

What treatments do you give to rescued bears to help them recover? Our vet checks each rescued bear and works out a treatment plan according to their needs. For most, rest and recuperation and a healthy, varied diet is enough. They just need to be able to roam in the safe forest environment of the sanctuary, which offers them the best place for recovery. They can swim, play, and hide in the bushes – all the things that bears are meant to do. Living proof: Cristi and Lydia were two of the first bears that Cristina helped to rescue from a life of crue l captivity




Animal Protector – one year on Sharing the stories of animals helped by you

It’s one year since WSPA launched Animal Protector, our network for people who’ve made the wonderful commitment to protect animals with a regular gift to WSPA. We couldn’t let Animal Protector’s first birthday pass without saying an enormous thank you to all 70,000 Animal Protectors – and inviting every reader of WSPA News to join too.

Sarah Hemingway, editor of WSPA News, also has the happy job of keeping Animal Protectors informed about the animals they are helping. Sarah does this through the Animal Protector site – that way, she is able to share many inspiring stories – often more than one a week! The site is personalised to each Animal Protector, making it possible for them to comment, share information and manage their giving securely.

What it means to be an Animal Protector
 Being an Animal Protector with WSPA is a very special way of protecting animals from cruelty and suffering. Committed regular gifts give WSPA a secure source of ongoing funds, meaning we can commit to longer-term projects and campaigns that are capable of saving, protecting and improving the lives of millions of animals around the world. In 2011, Animal Protectors’ gifts totalled £5.2m – over one third of the total given to WSPA by UK supporters.

Lively online community
 Over the past year, over 10,000 Animal Protectors have logged on to the Animal Protector website and now enjoy regular, inspiring stories and videos, showing how their regular gift is helping all sorts of animals around the world. In this issue of WSPA News, we share some of the past year’s worth of Animal Protector online stories and Animal Protectors’ comments…

A regular gift – a lifeline for animals in need

My monthly gift as an Animal Protector is something I can see making a difference and that mak es it so wor thwhile.” Beverley

Just as Direct Debits make it easy to pay your bills, you can also use a Direct Debit instruction to set up a monthly gift to WSPA. As soon as you do, you’ll become an Animal Protector with WSPA and part of a network of like-minded animal lovers, committed to helping animals in need. However much you give, what makes this type of support so valuable to WSPA is that it is reliable and ongoing. “WSPA , you will always have my suppor t and as much money as I can afford to help animals.” Steve

Thank you for being an Animal Protector Specially prepared to show you the amazing work you make possible

You’ve helped a cruel future save a bear cub from in India Keeping Animal Protectors informed WTI’s officers are very concern ed about the other cub and they are working to track it down using our network of informers. WTI is watching this region of as there are confirme India closely, d reports that there are another five bears being used to ‘dance’ in this area. We’re Read more at concerned the trade in cubs could Winter 2011 .uk start up again here, to service one‑year‑old this cruel practice sloth bear of bear dancing cub (pictured While this cub . You’re helping WTI’s here before his is relatively healthy, efforts to stamp rescue) has been his poaching canines have out rescued from already been and increase awarene a life and his removed this of cruelty and ss of sensitive muzzle pain as a ‘dancing trade – which is vital if we’re has ’ been bear in India. pierced with a to keep cubs in the ring to subdue wild. , control and teach him to ‘dance’. But WSPA’s local his fate could have been What other Anima partner, was not easy, but eventually, the so much worse. l Trust of India (WTI), the Wildlife Protectors say... and forestry soldiers carefully pulled him out. officials carried Fight to end out the dramati poaching c rescue to free “It’s great to know The struggle for him from his captors Thirsty work the safety and so many like‑min there are and he’s freedom of India’s ded people out cared Despite his ordeal,now the being donkey was for by bears there who are is not over forestry yet, as the two overcome these striving to men attempting relatively healthy officials, and keenwho for water. will find him a cruel practice safe home. to sell this cub fled, Keep spreadin s. g the You can watch his miraculous taking a second raising the money.” word and cub with them. rescue in the video on the Animal Diane


You are helping protect donkeys from pain and distress

You’re helping stop cruelty Rest and recovery live animals from Austral of exporting It took two days of caring for ia around 5 million the donkey at theyear, WSPA‑funded live E very Protector site.

See more at


vika Tamuz, founder of Pegasus, WSPA’s partner in Israel, receives daily calls asking for help rescuing donkeys or horses. One call presented more challenges than usual…

A group of soldiers had come across a donkey trapped in a large hole and called Pegasus for help. When Zvika and his assistant Shimi

p2 Bear cub saved from cruel future

arrived, they found that miraculously, the donkey had no injuries, but he desperately needed food and water. Soldier strength required Shimi abseiled down to check the donkey for injuries and to calm him, while Zvika and the soldiers rigged up a special donkey harness to pull him out safely. Lifting him from such a deep hole

p3 Helping tackle wildlife crime

sheep and cattle from Australia sanctuary to get him to a stable are subjecte d tohim longtojourneys state. Zvika is helping reach and often cruel a healthy weightaand to death, make as they’re exporte d live for slaughte sure he’s walking properly. We’re r. Of the 4 million sheep, pleased to tell you thataround he’s doing one in every hundred dies very well we hope toon find him a the Thatand adds up to a shockin journey. new, animals happy home soon. g 40,000 every year.

You can take action today to help us put an end to the export of all live animals from Australia. Show your support against the cruelty of

live animal export and join the Humane Chain today at global.humanec

You are What other Animal speaki ng out agains t live animal say... Protectors exports

“I give a little each month to help animals. Even a small amount helps (just give up something just for a week or two and you won’t miss it). Animals deserve our help, no matter what.” Vivienne You’re helping bears in Pak care for istan


hanks to Animal Protectors, Nita was rescued from a cruel life of bear baiting by partner, the Bioreso WSPA local urce Research Centre (BRC) and brought to the WSPA‑funded Balkasar Sanctua ry earlier this year. Nita had injuries to one of her eyes and was blind in the other, but she was in quite good health conside ring the trauma she’d faced over the years. After spending her first few months in quarantine, Nita has now been released into the main enclosure with the other bears. “Bears are by nature very adaptable,” says Dr Fakhar, director of BRC. “Provide d they have the right amount of food and space,


What you’ve achieved... at a glance You have protec ted donkeys from distress

You help Zvika Tamuz and our local partner Pegasus care for and treat so many donkeys and horses in need in Israel.

See more pictures of home at animalpro Nita in her new

they become accustomed to each other when a new bear enters the sanctuary.” This picture shows Nita exploring the lushnes of her new outdoor s and freedom environment.

You’re helping wildlife crim tackle e

ogether with the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife When WPSA heard that the Crime Unit (WCU), WCU we are working was threatened on a new campaig with closure, we n to stop wild animals stepped in to help. Without being illegally the unit, captured and the crimes would sold, alive or dead. be putting more animals likely to increase, at risk. Animals such as elephants, tortoises and tigers are Watch this space captured and for more news sold as exotic pets with soon about how you terrible consequ can help us ences. tackle But thanks to wildlife crime. the WCU’s expert Thank you for investigations, making it possible a number of wildlife to support the criminals are prosecu WCU and its vital ted each year. work – we couldn’t do it without you.

You have protec ted bear cubs from poaching You are helping keep wild and stamping bear cubs in the out the practice poaching and selling cubs, which of the bear dancing fuels trade in India.

You are helpin g tackle crimes against wild animals


Millions of sheep

There’s more to see

p4 Puppy diaries from Bali

suffer during

You have protec ted dogs from rabies

Your support has helped treat and vaccinate thousand the killer disease s more dogs against of rabies, including puppies Brown and White (see story on page 4).

live export See more at animalpro

on your own Anim al Protector webs ite...

to log in go to

animalprotecto 3



worth it.”

By supporting WSPA you are making it possible to fund the Crime Unit, which Met Police’s Wildlife works to stop crimes against wild animals such as elephants tortoises and , tigers.

But there is hope.

“Those have With your regular gift asvideos an my Animal brightened day! Protecto So r, we’ve already done fantastic to seeso that little much to help end the liverescued donkey and saved export of sheep. from starvation. Thank goodness for WSPA.” Rachelle

“Makes every pound Matthew

“Being an Ani mal Protector gives my life a special purpose and pride. I recommend it to ever yone .” Gisela

GET INVOLVED “I am proud to be an Animal Protector. We of have constant proof es. do PA WS the work the to art he my s It warm re see such dedicated ca happening.” Frances

“Animals ca n’t speak and defend th emselves. We have to do this on their behalf by being Animal Prote ctors.” Rober t

Become an Animal Protector with WSPA today When you set up a monthly Direct Debit gift to WSPA, you automatically become an Animal Protector. Choose to log onto the Animal Protector site, and you’ll soon be enjoying posts, with videos and photos that bring you closer to the animals you are committed to protecting. You can create your own profile, comment on stories and manage your giving securely, all through the site. The first time you log on, you’ll be invited to choose a gift – a card holder or trolley-coin key ring, to show the world you’re proud to be an Animal Protector with WSPA.

Postal updates If you don’t have access to the internet, don’t worry, you’ll receive updates in the post about how your role as an Animal Protector is helping to save, protect and improve animals’ lives. Visit Call 0800 197 0700 (during office hours) Scan this QR code with your smartphone to instantly log on now. For help on using QR codes, see our guide on page 3.

Israel: Making miracles ha ppen

for donkeys

Your suppor t helps Zvika Tam uz, founder of Pegasus, our par tner in Israel, to rescue and car e for hundreds of abused and abandoned donkeys. Raht’s story You may have read about Raht in WSPA’s Christmas 2011 appeal. Rah t is just one donkey rescued by Zvika, tha nks to you.

Appalling cruelty Some local children had fou nd Raht, wandering and alo ne. They wrapped him in a nylon she et and set it on fire. You can only imagine Raht’s terror as the sheet burst into flames. Rescue When Zvika saw the severit y of Raht’s burns, he knew he had to act immediately. He gave Rah t life-saving treatment, fun ded by kind WSPA donations. Miraculously, tha nks to Zvika’s round-the-clo ck care, this little donkey responded well. You are making miracles happen While Raht is now safe at Pegasus, other donkeys like him are still being mistreated. But you are hel ping miracles happen for sick and injured donkeys, every day. Thank you.

Bangladesh: Meet little To ny, just one puppy you’ve protected Protecting dogs in Bangl adesh Thanks to your continued suppor t, we are able to save dogs’ live s in other par ts of the world where too often, they are brutally killed in respon se to the threat of rabies. WSPA will work with the Bangladeshi Government to vaccinate dogs against this killer dis ease, so saving the lives of both dogs and people.

Tony the Puppy We met a healthy little two -month-old puppy named Tony and his family in Bangladesh. The y were delighted we were vaccinating him, as it meant that he wouldn’t be killed by the authorities or die of rabies. His owner said, “I am please d that my children will now be able to play with Tony and both they and he will be safe from rabies .”

Pakistan: three more bears rescued – Reech, Pari and Shabnam Thanks to your suppor t, two female Asiatic Black bears and one male Himalayan Brown bear have been rescued from a life of bear baiting – the cruel blood sport in which bears are teth ered up by their owners and atta cked by trained dogs.

Recovering well Reech, meaning bear, Par i, meaning fair y and Shabna m, meaning dew, have all been given car eful treatment for their wo unds and are recovering well in the quaran tine area of the WSPA-fun ded sanctuary in Pakistan. These three bea rs will be the latest bears to join the eleven current residents of the sanctuary and will now be able to live out the remainder of their lives in the beautiful grassy enclosures, with trees, shrubs and pools.



Make 2012 your Olympic year With the London 2012 Olympic Games just months away, it’s an inspiring time to get fit and achieve something amazing. WSPA have a number of exciting and challenging treks for animal lovers to participate in to raise funds for animals. Make 2012 the year you do something to be proud of.

Romanian Bear Adventure 9 – 15 September 2012 8 – 14 September 2013 This incredible seven-day adventure through the stunning Carpathian Mountains of Romania finishes with an unforgettable visit to the WSPAfunded bear sanctuary for rescued bears. Find out what it’s like to take part in this trek on page 10.

“I’m so glad I came here, we’ve seen so many bears. We’ve been watching some of them swimming about with their paws in the air.” Henriette “This experience has been fantastic, far exceeding our expectations, just amazing. If you haven’t done it yet, you’ve got to do it.” David

Costa Rica Coast to Coast 2 – 13 February 2013 An adventurous journey from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast, this challenge ends with an incredible chance to see whales in their natural environment.

UK Trekathons Each of the UK WSPA trekathons take you through 26 miles of stunning British countryside, past some of the most magnificent landmarks in the UK.

London Stadia Trekathon

Sunday 13 May 2012 Saturday 1 September 2012

Avebury to Stonehenge Trekathon

Saturday 30 June 2012

Cheddar to Glastonbury Trekathon

Saturday 28 July 2012

Hadrian’s Wall Trekathon

Please send me information on: Romanian Bear Adventure Costa Rica Coast to Coast

Saturday 23 June 2012

All information about our UK Trekathon events is online. For more information and to book, please visit

Saturday 8 September 2012

Please complete the reply form and return to: Freepost RSJJ-CARL-HCHB, WSPA, 222 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8HB

Saturday 19 May 2012

South Downs Trekathon

For more info and to book your challenge event, contact Jane or Madge today.

Name: Address:


0800 316 9772 (during office hours) Email Complete the coupon


(Romanian Bear Adventure and Costa Rica Coast to Coast)


Visit (UK Trekathons only)

Email: I am happy for WSPA to contact me by email I do not wish to receive future communications from WSPA or WSPA Trading Ltd. Registered charity no. 1081849

Spire to Spire Trekathon


WSPA News Spring 2012: Bear Sanctuary Special  
WSPA News Spring 2012: Bear Sanctuary Special  

Welcome to your first 2012 issue of WSPA News – the magazine for supporters for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), with...