Braniewo - workshop "Feeding enrichment" and meeting with the mayor

On 1st of March 2012 there was a short workshop on feeding enrichment for captive bears held in Braniewo. Training was conducted by Vier Pfoten (Four Paws). We have cooperated with this organization for three years. This time, we helped in the preparation and organizational issues. A total of 11 bear keepers from several zoos participated in workshop. In the first part Patrick Boncourt, bear project manager in Vier Pfoten, presented the activities of the organization in helping captive bears. Then it went to presentation on environmental enrichment and its meaning in stimulating bears' activity and preventing stereotypic behaviour. After lunch, participants moved to the zoo, where a practical part of workshop was organized. Lars - the bear keeper in Bärenwald Müritz - showed how to build a "feeder" to stimulate bears' foraging activity. Several participants engaged in making this simple feeders from a piece of plastic water pipe and wooden beams. Finally, the participants took the "toys" for bears to their zoos. Additionally they received a beautiful calendars presenting bears from Vier Pfoten sanctuary in Germany.

With the support of Vier Pfoten and our recommendations, some improvements in bear enclosures have been made. The major changes were done in Wojtusia's cage: wood for rubbing, palisades, hanging balls, sand. All the bears were given straw that are now willingly exploiting.

Our visit to Braniewo we decided to use also for the meeting with the mayor. The meeting attended: Mayor Henryk Mrozinski, vice-mayor Grzegorz Maziarz, Director of the Municipal Administration of Communal Buildings, Zbigniew Dalak who is responsible for the zoo and our team (Agnieszka Sergiel and Robert Maślak). We presented our efforts to solve the issue of bears in Braniewo. The main achievements were (1) specialized veterinary care, which we organized in February 2011, when in 2 days seven bears have been examined in details (the action was funded mainly by UK RSPCA, OTOZ Animals and with ours and the city support), (2) successful moving of Michal from Braniewo to sanctuary in Germany in September 2011 (the result of several years of our efforts and cooperation with Vier Pfoten), (3) surgery of wolf in October 2011 (thanks to our collaboration with vets from Veterinary Faculty of the University of Nature Sciences in Wroclaw), (4) new arrangements and facilities in cages to stimulate bears natural behavior. We expressed again our suggestion to improve veterinary care in the zoo, because it is insufficient an illusory.

We discussed legal aspects of keeping animals in Braniewo, especially new regulation on dangerous animals. Bears from Braniewo should be moved to new place, but for now this is not possible due to lack of suitable place. The mayor thanked us for current efforts to improve animal welfare.

Now in Braniewo four brown bears are being kept: female Wojtusia (in small cage), female Ewka together with her daughter Gienia, and male Pietka (all in enclosures in type of concrete pits).

Theoretical part of workshop on feeding enrichment

Guests from Germany: Patrick Boncourt (left) - bear projects manager in Vier Pfoten, interpreter Karolina Hojnowska (center) and Lars - bear keeper Bärenwald Müritz (right)

Practical training

Not much is needed to enrich bears life - plastic pipe and piece of wood

Feeder becomes shaped

Team work

So far empty indoor cages now with platforms and straw

The cage of Wojtusia had been empty for many years. Today thanks to our efforts it includes platforms and rubbing woods

Balls, tire and other hanging toys are new items to play with for Wojtusia

Sand box is another idea of Patrick of VP and ours 

This time we were not alone going back from Braniewo. Maja, a one year old female dog, was travelling with us. After few months of cage life she had finally found the owner. In Braniewo Zoo still about 15 dogs are waiting for someone to take them home...

Dramatic situation of bears in a former dog shelter in Korabiewice - next »
« previous - International vet team in Korabiewice - help for bears


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