Cruel Restaurant Owner Locks Bear in Tiny Cage to Attract Customers and is Only Fed Junk That Tourist Throw at Him

*Tomi will be moved to a Kosovo sanctuary, which caters to the needs of Brown bears who have suffered cruelty. The five-year-old Bear, Tomi, will be taken there in October.Screenshot_18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tomi the Albanian brown Bear. The five year old bear is kept in a small cage at a restaurant north of the capital Tirana, and fed cakes, crisps and junk food by passing visitors. The bear was plucked locally from the wild as a 3 year old and has spent the last 2 years in this cage beside the restaurant. Words Stephen Wright. PAPER BEFORE ONLINE

‘In this environment he is not able to follow his natural instincts, has no opportunity to move properly, look for food, climb, dig or take a bath.

‘He also cannot retreat from the gaze of visitors and is forced to interact with them constantly and beg them for food.

Lonely, desperate and so bored he bites himself: Distressing footage reveals plight of brown bear Tomi who is kept in a tiny cage 24 hours a day and must beg for scraps of junk food as a restaurant tourist attraction in Albania

  • Tomi is kept in a run-down restaurant in mountains of Albania where diners can watch the animal as they eat
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Hideous slave driver has stolen Tomi from his home in the wild and stuck him in a filthy cage where visitors throw junk at him. The man does not feed him; he is at the mercy of whatever the visitors throw in his cage.

I don’t think this is the restaurant where this man keeps a bear in a filthy small cage to attract customers but  it is one of many in Albania that does. www.sofraeariut.com
Sofra e Ariut Nd. 54 H.1 Njësia Bashkiake Nr. 1, Rruga e Elbasanit, Tirana 1019, Albania

  • He displays disturbing behaviour such as chewing limbs and spasms  – a result of ‘unbearable’ living condition
  • But his owner who hunted him down with a tranquiliser gun simply blames boredom and sees no problems
  • Bear is desperately hungry relying on sweets and crisps from visitors and can be seen begging, paws outstretched
  • He is one of 80 caged bears across Albania and animal welfare campaigners are demanding urgent end to cruelty

Reliant on the generosity of passers-by for his daily diet of junk food, he cuts a lonely and desperate figure.

Crowds flock to see Tomi the brown bear in his ‘home’ – a tiny cage next to a run-down restaurant in beautiful mountains 40 miles north of the Albanian capital Tirana.

They take videos of him on their smart-phones, pose for selfies, and if feeling kind give him sweets, cake and crisps. His owner occasionally gives him beer to quench his thirst.Tomi was captured from the wild and forced to live in a cage

Crowds flock to see Tomi the brown bear in his ‘home’ - a tiny cage next to a run-down restaurant in beautiful mountains 40 miles north of the Albanian capital Tirana

Crowds flock to see Tomi the brown bear in his ‘home’ – a tiny cage next to a run-down restaurant in beautiful mountains 40 miles north of the Albanian capital Tirana

They take videos of him on their smart-phones, pose for selfies, and if feeling kind give him sweets, cake and crisps. His owner occasionally gives him beer to quench his thirst

They take videos of him on their smart-phones, pose for selfies, and if feeling kind give him sweets, cake and crisps. His owner occasionally gives him beer to quench his thirst

Tomi’s mood fluctuates.

Sometimes, when he can smell food, he cups his paws in a begging motion and gazes hopefully in the direction of the customers.

Occasionally he puts his jaws through the iron bars and sticks out his tongue, clinging to the hope that someone might feed him.

In other moments, he paces around his cage intensely, and then goes into what appears to be a self-harming spasm – biting his limbs while shaking his head violently.

His owner blames the distressing behaviour on ‘boredom’ but insists there is nothing wrong with locking up Tomi for 24 hours a day.

An animal welfare expert said it is the result of ‘extremely monotonous and confined living conditions’ which, he added, are ‘unbearable’ for him.

Until two years ago, Tomi roamed the mountains, woodland and river across the road from the eatery where he is now a very reluctant tourist attraction.

Then the man who runs the restaurant, who refuses to reveal his name, came up with his sickening idea of taking the bear out of his natural habitat – in a bid to boost takings.

He said he paid a vet to hunt Tomi down with a tranquiliser gun.

Sometimes he paces around his cage intensely, and then goes into what appears to be a self-harming spasm – biting his limbs while shaking his head violently

Sometimes he paces around his cage intensely, and then goes into what appears to be a self-harming spasm – biting his limbs while shaking his head violently

His owner blames the distressing behaviour on ‘boredom’ but insists there is nothing wrong with locking up Tomi for 24 hours a day

An animal welfare expert said it is the result of ‘extremely monotonous and confined living conditions’ which, he added, are ‘unbearable’ for him

The man who runs the restaurant, who refuses to reveal his name, came up with his idea of taking the bear out of his natural habitat - in a bid to boost takings. He said he paid a vet to hunt Tomi down with a tranquiliser gun

The man who runs the restaurant, who refuses to reveal his name, came up with his idea of taking the bear out of his natural habitat – in a bid to boost takings. He said he paid a vet to hunt Tomi down with a tranquiliser gun

From his cage, which is full of litter including discarded crisps and sweets bags, he can hear birds singing and the sound of running water while chickens walk past him in the safe knowledge he can do them no harm

From his cage, which is full of litter including discarded crisps and sweets bags, he can hear birds singing and the sound of running water while chickens walk past him in the safe knowledge he can do them no harm

To add to his torment, a tank filled with water and trout for restaurant diners is situated just a few feet away, well within smelling range

To add to his torment, a tank filled with water and trout for restaurant diners is situated just a few feet away, well within smelling range

Sedated, the enormous animal, now five years old, was brought back to the restaurant and put in a 20ft by 10ft cage to attract extra custom.

To add to his torment, a tank filled with water and trout for restaurant diners is situated just a few feet away, well within smelling range.

From his cage, which is full of litter including discarded crisps and sweets bags, the bear can hear birds singing and the sound of running water while chickens walk past him in the safe knowledge he can do them no harm.

Tomi is one of about 80 brown bears thought to be trapped in cages at restaurants, petrol stations and beaches across Albania.

Some are forced to perform as dancing bears and incredibly live in even more cramped conditions than Tomi.

Campaigners have repeatedly urged the country’s Government to rescue them from captivity but despite numerous promises of action nothing has really happened and the Albanian brown bear is now a seriously endangered species.

Only about 250 brown bears remain at large in the poverty stricken country (in addition to the estimated 80 bears living in cages).

Daily Mail photographer Roland Hoskins and I stumbled on Tomi as we travelled through Albania on another assignment and over a period of two days witnessed first-hand his suffering.

The restaurant owner, a married father of five in his 50s, was unapologetic about Tomi’s plight.

Tomi is one of about 80 brown bears thought to be trapped in cages at restaurants, petrol stations and beaches across Albania

Only about 250 brown bears remain at large in the poverty stricken country (in addition to the estimated 80 bears living in cages)

The restaurant owner was unapologetic about Tomi’s plight. 'Once I forgot to leave him water and he made a big noise and I realised something was wrong so I went back to his cage and realised 'oh my god, I forgot his water'

Later, as Tomi became distressed and chewed his limbs and shook his head, the owner said casually: 'Sometimes he gets bored and does this. It's quite usual'

As children and their parents fed him sweets, he said of his ‘pet’: ‘Tomi is the same as a human being but does not speak.

‘He is so used to human beings.

‘Once I forgot to leave him water and he made a big noise and I realised something was wrong so I went back to his cage and realised ‘oh my god, I forgot his water’.’

There was no water in Tomi’s cage as an interpreter posing as a customer interviewed the owner, who added: ‘Do you want me to bring Tomi out of the cage? Stay still and don’t be scared and he will be ok. He is a sacred animal. He has healing powers, if you touch him he can help you.’

His offer was declined.

Later, as Tomi became distressed and chewed his limbs and shook his head, the owner said casually: ‘Sometimes he gets bored and does this. It’s quite usual.

‘I have had Tomi for two years. I paid a vet from Tirana to shoot him with a tranquilliser. Business has gone up since.’

The Mail took extensive video footage of Tomi in his cage and showed it to an expert on the welfare of bears.

Zoologist Thomas Pietsch, of the London-based campaign group FOUR PAWS, said: ‘The bear shows a very strong behavioural disorder which is clear evidence of serious animal welfare deficits. This self-harming behaviour is clearly compulsive and is a result of the extremely monotonous and confined living conditions.

Zoologist Thomas Pietsch, of the London-based campaign group FOUR PAWS, said: ‘The bear shows a very strong behavioural disorder which is clear evidence of serious animal welfare deficits. This self-harming behaviour is clearly compulsive and is a result of the extremely monotonous and confined living conditions'

‘In his small cage he is unable to express even the most basic natural behaviour. In this environment he is not able to follow his natural instincts, has no opportunity to move properly, look for food, climb, dig or take a bath'

'This situation is unbearable for the bear and totally unacceptable from an animal welfare perspective. Conditions such as these lead to extreme frustration for bears, which results in the strong behavioural disorder shown in the video’

The anonymous restaurant owner said: ‘I have had Tomi for two years. I paid a vet from Tirana to shoot him with a tranquilliser. Business has gone up since’

The anonymous restaurant owner said: ‘I have had Tomi for two years. I paid a vet from Tirana to shoot him with a tranquilliser. Business has gone up since’

‘In his small cage the bear is unable to express even the most basic natural behaviour.

‘In this environment he is not able to follow his natural instincts, has no opportunity to move properly, look for food, climb, dig or take a bath.

‘He also cannot retreat from the gaze of visitors and is forced to interact with them constantly and beg them for food.

‘This situation is unbearable for the bear and totally unacceptable from an animal welfare perspective.

‘Conditions such as these lead to extreme frustration for bears, which results in the strong behavioural disorder shown in the video.’

He added: ‘In Albania there are still dozens of brown bears kept in bad keeping conditions and used for profit and entertainment purposes.

These animals are forced to live in small cages or chained up near hotels and restaurants or privately owned gardens and backyards simply for the amusement of people.

‘FOUR PAWS wants to tackle this problem in cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Environment.

In a Memorandum of Understanding signed this year both parties agreed to work together on a sustainable and animal-friendly solution for these brown bears.

‘In neighbouring Kosovo, FOUR PAWS has already achieved an end to the cruel, illegal private keeping of brown bears, when it was banned in 2013.’

The Albanian Minister of Environment, Lefter Koka, who signed the memorandum of understanding, said: ‘We want to strengthen the image of Albania as a responsible tourism destination, where cruelty towards animals has no legitimate place.’

But critics doubt whether the country, which hopes to join the EU in the next few years, will act on its promises.

The campaign group, People Advocating for Caged Bears, said a multi-agency workshop was held three years ago on the issue of the ‘Illegal Capturing and Keeping of Brown Bears in Albania’.

It added that a report ‘concluded that, in general, people are not concerned with conservation, welfare or engaging in education with regards to wildlife and the environment.

This may explain indifference towards the keeping bears in cages throughout the country.

‘Unregulated hunting and non-existent laws on gun ownership have meant that anyone could go out in any season and shoot whatever they saw, with no regard for conservation issues.’

Campaigners hope the Mail’s report on Tomi will shame the authorities into action.

For isolated and hungry Tomi, desperate to return to the woodland and mountains he once roamed freely, decisive moves to end his suffering cannot come soon enough

The following is from http://www.four-paws.org.au/projects/bears/ please support their work:

Bears in Albania

2016-03-24

FOUR PAWS helps bears in Albania 


© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka

In Albania there are still approximately up to 80 bears leading a miserable existence in captivity

Most privately kept bears are being used for profit or entertainment purposes kept in cages or on chains close to hotels and restaurants or in backyards for private amusement. During summer months, they also serve as “photo props” for tourists on beaches or in pedestrian areas. Often the bears are fixed with a chain through the nose to bend them to their owners will.

Abusive practices are not the only problem in the region

Almost all bears in private keeping in Albania have been illegally captured as cubs from the wild. Consequently, the wild bear population is estimated at approximately 250 animals and remains endangered.

 
© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka
FOUR PAWS wants to help!

But the situation could be improved very soon, because last weekend, FOUR PAWS’ founder Heli Dungler and the Albanian Minister of Environment, Lefter Koka, signed a memorandum of understanding. Both parties will jointly work on a sustainable and animal-friendly solutions for brown bears, a species often captured and abused for profit and entertainment purposes. Our long-term goal is to completely end cruel private keeping like it was achieved in Kosovo.


© FOUR PAWS | Hazir Reka

in a first step, the penal system shall be tightened

Brown bears living in the wild in Albania are already protected by law, but violations are usually either not prosecuted or nominal fines imposed. There is no official data available about the actual number of bears in captivity and the country lacks accommodation possibilities for wild animals taken from bad keeping conditions.

Lefter Koka, Minister of Environment of Albania: “First, we want to focus on ending the most cruel forms of bear keeping in Albania. There are many bears abused to attract tourists, for example in tiny cages near restaurants, on beaches or near famous sights. We want to strengthen the image of Albania as a responsible tourism destination, where cruelty towards animals has no legitimate place.”

3 thoughts on “Cruel Restaurant Owner Locks Bear in Tiny Cage to Attract Customers and is Only Fed Junk That Tourist Throw at Him

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