Inside Croatia’s Kuterevo Bear Sanctuary

Brown bears can weigh between 100-150 kg and up to 300 kg:brown bearPhoto: deepwater

In 2002, Mr. Đuro Huber founded a sanctuary for orphaned young bears whose mothers have died in traffic accidents or through poaching. Thanks to Mr. Huber’s sanctuary in the small village of Kuterevo, in Lika, Croatia, these young bears escape a sure death. The brown bear (ursus arctos) is an endangered species in Croatia.

Though the biggest terrestrial carnivores, brown bears eat mainly plants:
I'm eatingPhoto: deepwater

The Bear Sanctuary is currently run as an international volunteer camp for young people. They come from all over the world and every summer there are people from Holland, France, Italy, England, Korea and many other countries.

playPhoto: deepwater

The young volunteers work on improving the conditions for the bears in the sanctuary by collecting food and helping to build shelters for the bears. Here, the volunteers learn how to take care of wild animals that need help from humans.

Are you looking at me?Photo: deepwater

Volunteers can stay at the camp from between two weeks to two months and live with nature in beautiful surroundings. Lest anyone forget that bears are wild animals and that everyone has to be cautious, the ground rule is “Never cross the line”.

don't come any closerPhoto: deepwater

In fact, only last year, during this author’s visit, one of the six resident bears attacked Mr. Đuro Huber, the founder himself, who over the years has apparently forgotten to be cautious. Fortunately for Mr. Huber, he was not badly hurt and is well now.

curiosityPhoto: deepwater

Every year, the sanctuary attracts about ten thousand visitors and everyone is welcome.

Sources: 1, 2, 3