Bears, Beets, Battlestar Gallactica

A trip this week made me think about one of our favorite Office quotes.

Anyway, this week it was Bears and Balkans! On Thursday, some friends and I took a little road trip outside the city to visit a new bear sanctuary. Until recently, it was not unusual for people to keep brown bears in cages near restaurants as attractions. Kosovo either recently passed a law about it, or just started enforcing it, because earlier this summer about 15 bears were taken from around the country and placed in this new sanctuary.

(Here are some articles about it: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/2-brown-bears-rescued-captivity-kosovo, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/captive-brown-bears-gain-fresh-start, http://www.four-paws.org.uk/projects/bears/prishtina-sanctuary/).

The road trip was an adventure because these were the directions we followed:

Take the road through Gracanica, past Badovcit lake, then make a sharp left as soon the lake ends. (Should be a gas station there). Keep on the gravel road furthest to the right (White pebbles that look newish), and follow it about 3 km. The road ends at the sanctuary.

I struggle with directions when they are step by step from Google, so this was a bit of a challenge. When we turned left at the gas station, the gravel road was on the left, and a paved road was on the right. So we were confused. We went back to the gas station to ask the attendants for directions. They were happy to help, but they did not really speak English. I put my hands up like claws and did a little “roar” and they laughed and then pointed. And JR doubts my charades skills!

We made it to the sanctuary and were greeted by the employees. It’s a relatively small operation and I don’t know how many visitors they get, but we were glad we went. The man who showed us around was able to tell us some of the bears’ names, and ages. They were also feeding them while we were there – all produce, no meat. I’m not sure why that is, but possibly due to the cost of meat? (Also because I was curious, according to Google, only the polar bear is a true carnivore. All other bears eat both plants and meat. Who knew?)

Here are some pictures from our adventure!

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This is Kassandra.

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That’s Vinnie standing up waiting for food.

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They have pictures of the bears’ former cages – very sad.

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