Bear Mark

Bear Mark

and his gentle eyes

Mark spent over 20 years of his life as a restaurant bear. He was used to attract customers, living in a tiny rusty cage where he only felt the cold concrete floor. He was deprived of all the natural behaviour of a bear and never had the opportunity to forage, hibernate, or even smell other bears.

But on the 7th of December 2022, FOUR PAWS was able to rescue Mark and change the life of Albania's last restaurant bear forever. After a long journey through 7 countries, Mark arrived safely on December 9th at his new forever home, BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesach.

But after such a long time living in captivity, it was difficult for Mark to settle into his new life. And the poor living conditions and malnutrition from his life in captivity has caused life-long health problems. But slowly Mark is improving! And with the return of winter in mid-January 2023, Mark retreated into his den – to hibernate for the first time in his life.

Then and now

Bear Mark

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At the end of February, Mark slowly became more active again. For the first time since his rescue, he stood in his den sniffing around. A big step forward! The den for a long time was Mark’s favourite hideout and he didn´t venture far from it. It was his safe, warm space, where he could settle into his new surroundings, relax and eat all his favorite foods.
Luckily Mark more and more got confident and started to explore his enclosure.

Bear Marks first year at BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesbach

Bear Marks first steps in his new home.

Mark's arrival at the BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesbach

 After a 44-hour journey, brown bear Mark has arrived in the snow-covered bear sanctuary in the Waldviertel (near the Upper Austrian border).

Bear Mark in his straw bed.

Mark starts the new year

In the enclosure there is a cave prepared for bear Mark. It is thickly strewn with straw. Mark, however, prefers to sleep outside of the den. To ensure that he is well protected even in cold temperatures, Mark gets plenty of straw to build a cosy nest.

Bear Marks favourite place. The den with it´s cosy straw bed

Marks new favourite place

Since the health check Bear Mark spends his time in the den. Now he feels so comfortable and safe in his den, that he won't leave it for the next few weeks.

Bear Marks first steps out of the den

Marks first careful steps

The cave is still the place where Mark prefers to be. But he becomes curious about his surroundings.

Bear Mark looks friendly out of his den. Straw is on the ground

Mark ventures further out of his cave

every day a few steps further...

Bear Mark sits in the snow.

Brave Mark

Mark finally dares to go outside. Still within easy reach of his cave.

Bear Mark peeks out between trees

At last! Mark begins to explore his enclosure

Mark is curious about his surroundings.What is there to discover and smell,... how does it feel to walk on forrest soil,...?

Bear Mark walks in the snow

When will it be finally spring?

 A winter in the Waldviertel can last very long. But Mark doesn´t care. Despite the snow Mark did a little walk.

Bear Mark dabbling in the pond

Marks first bath in the pond

From winter straight into swimming season. 
After his first rounds exploring his enclosure, Mark also discovered his pond. It was such a pleasure for all of us, watching him, dabbling playfully in the pond.

Bear Mark sitting in the pond


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Bear Mark sitting on the ground next to a cardboard box, which was filled with treats.

25th anniversary of Bear Sanctuary Arbesbach

And there are two other anniversaries to celebrate. On the one hand, Brumca's 25 years in the bear sanctuary Arbesbach and Mark turns 25 this year. This must be celebrated. Mark received a cardboard box, in which tasty treats and favorite food were hidden, for his birthday.

Bear Mark sitting in the green gras

Mark enjoys the spring sun

Mark did a walk in his enclosure and found a cosy place to take a break.

Bear Mark in the pond.

Mark enjoys a bath

Into the cool water! Bears are excellent swimmers. In the water they can get rid of annoying parasites, cool off or just have fun!

Bear Mark nibbling on straw


always finds things to occupy with. He is particularly fond of straw.

Bear Mark lies curled up in his hollow

Mark has his favorite places to sleep

After taking his walks through the enclosure, Mark is having a break and takes a nap.

Bear Mark yawns

Another resting place for bear Mark

During the warm season, the bears often sleep in hollows, which they dig themselves and sometimes cover with leaves, moss or branches.

Bear Mark is standing.

Mark is foraging

As for the other bears, Mark's food is distributed and hidden in the enclosure every day. All shyness and insecurity have long been forgotten. Mark goes in search of the good food.

Bär Marks Profil, rund herum verschwommen grünes Laub und Waldboden

Bear Mark received a paper bag with straw inside and food hidden between the straw

Mark received a paper bag with treats.

In the paperbag is straw and among the straw Mark found lots of his favourite food. Mark is also interested in other enrichemnts, such as bamboo tubes, in which food is hidden.

Bear Mark with summer coat, behind him trees, stones


Although September has arrived, Mark has changed into summer coat.

Bear Mark lying ont the grass, turning his head to the left


llikes to lie on this patch of green meadow and also likes to eat grass.

Bear Mark very close


smells the autumn air or his fine nose has come across a particularly interesting smell.

Bear Mark very close

Mark is standing, around him autumn leaves on th ground, still green leaves on plants around him

Mark with winter coat

Mark has eaten up a thick fat pad and also has a thick winter coat again. He is well prepared for hibernation.

Bear Mark is sleeping on the ground.

Mark is tired

It's early November. Mark's walks have become rare. The other bears are also no longer very active and take long sleep breaks. Soon, Mark will retire to his cave.

Bear Mark has retreated into his den. Snow is on the cave an on the ground

Mark is hibernating

For Mark, an eventful first year at the BEAR SANCTUARY is coming to an end. In contrast to the exciting December 9, 2022, Mark sleeps through his first anniversary in peace. Mark is hibernating since November 22nd. Sleep well, dear bear Mark. We wish you a good new year at the BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesbach.

Watch for a true winter miracle! ❄️ 

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