In recent weeks the last ten brown bears living at the former Mendoza Zoological Park in Argentina have been re-homed at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado (USA). This follows two years of hard work and collaboration between Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) and Enfoque Animal, working alongside the government of Mendoza.
In early 2016 the government of Mendoza made the decision to convert Mendoza Zoological Park into an eco-park. The new design concept involves giving the animals the chance to hide away or retreat from sight rather than keeping them on show for human entertainment.
This shift from zoo to eco-park captures the zeitgeist, which champions a greater level of animal welfare. Director of the Ecoparque Mendoza, Mariana Caram, stated: “As part of our plans to resettle exotic animal species (the “Plan de Derivaciones de Animales Exóticos”), we continue to re-home animals in highly respected nature conservation areas all around the world. We do so in order to ensure that the animals living at Mendoza eco-park can enjoy the best quality of life. We are well aware that the world is changing its outlook on these issues, and that animals do not deserve to be mere objects for entertaining others. ”
Working jointly with animal welfare organisation Enfoque Animal, Fondation Franz Weber was able to find a new home for the ten brown bears at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado (USA) as part of this resettlement programme.
The conservation area is dedicated exclusively to rescuing large exotic carnivores.
All ten bears from Mendoza were born in captivity, some of them spending nearly 20 years in enclosures that were much too small for them. Humberto Mingorance, Secretary of the Environment and Territorial Planning, describes the resettlement as “a historic event in which Ecoparque Mendoza is leading the way in this global shift. ”
Leandro Fruitos, representative of Fondation Franz Weber in Argentina, is delighted about the huge step up for these bears: “These bears’ lives will never be the same again ‒ in the best possible way. Finally, we are giving them back some of the freedom they lost in captivity!”
Website: The Wild Animal Sanctuary