Today, March 23rd, the world celebrates International Bear Day – a day dedicated to acknowledging these wondrous animals and raising awareness about the challenges bears face due to climate change and increasing deforestation practices.
To celebrate this day, The Bite is showcasing photos from a trip that 12 AISB students and 3 teachers took on June 10, 2022, to one of the largest bear sanctuaries in Europe: Libearty Bear.
PAWS, the animal welfare service learning group at AISB, joined The Social Entrepreneurship student group in their quest to find out more about the sanctuary, specifically their rescue strategy and ways of raising funds.
Millions of Friends Association founded the sanctuary in 2005 and it is now home to over 130 bears rescued from abusive lifestyles in which humans either caged them for tourists to take pictures, or drugged them to keep them calm. Through monthly donations and a virtual adoption program, Millions of Friends manages to support both the sanctuary and a shelter for stray animals, The Victory Dog Shelter.
The students spent a full day at the sanctuary, just enough time for them to glimpse the sanctuary and learn the heartbreaking stories of some of the housed bears.
Students of all ages from all around the country packed the sanctuary entrance patiently waiting to be let in. To avoid overcrowding the paths of the sanctuary, officials allowed groups to enter separately, which allowed them to spend more time observing the animals.
Eliza O., one of the students who visited the sanctuary, says she was “wholly impressed by the sheer expanse of the reservation.” Upon arrival at Libearty, all students watched a short film recording on the sanctuary’s purpose and history, which greatly moved Eliza; “That and the thorough knowledge of the tour guide—definitely worth a visit!”