Baby bear lost in Bosnian mountain village, finds new home in Sarajevo Zoo

NEWS 17.05.2019 14:24
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Source: Reuters/Dado Ruvić

Last weekend was an unusual one for the Becar family in Gunjani, the central Bosnian mountain village, when they saw a baby bear in front of their house.

The two-month bear was first spotted near the village a weekend before but locals pushed it back to the woods, in fear that the mother would come closer to their houses while searching for her offspring.

But Aida, which is how the Becars named the baby bear, came back again.

“When we first saw her, she almost couldn't walk and she was probably hungry. I gave her some milk,” said Sija Becar.

Happy to find a new shelter but still insecure, Aida was running around the front yard of the Becar family before she finally approached her rescuers, Sija and her son Zakir, and allowed them to pet her.

Locals believe Aida's mother was probably killed by poachers.

Bear hunting on the territory of Bosnia's Federation entity, which is a little over the half of the country's territory, is forbidden. Authorities in the Republika Srpska, the other of the two entities, allow it.

Without her mother to protect her, Aida stands low chance to survive in the wilderness.

Although they got used to their new guest, the Becars decided it would be the best for the baby bear to go to Sarajevo Zoo, where she would get the much-needed care of professional staff.

“We got used to the baby bear, we're going to miss her a lot,” said Sija.

Federation's chief inspector for forestry, Muhamed Hodzic, said Aida would be the third bear saved after poachers killed their mothers.

“This is a great animal living in our woods but the youngsters will never be able to go back to nature where they belong,” explained Hodzic.

Sarajevo Zoo is Aida's new home. The zoo staff gave her a warm-hearted welcome, saying that the park is now richer for another youngster.

“After Nina, Sonja and Piolina, the Pioneer Valley (the zoo's official name) as of today has its Aida, a baby bear only two-month-old,” said the zoo management.