Zărneşti: The Libearty Bear Sanctuary - A view from our expert author

The Libearty Bear Sanctuary at Zărneşti provides a refuge for bears rescued from captivity.

Brown bear, Libearty Bear Sanctuary, Transylvania, Romania by Paul Brummell Run by local NGO Milioane de Prieteni, with support from the UK-based charity World Animal Protection, the Libearty Bear Sanctuary is a remarkable place, with some 88 bears, mostly living in three large enclosures in 69ha of oak forest. Another five smaller enclosures cater for bears with specific problems. All of the bears in the sanctuary were rescued from captivity, and many of their tales are truly harrowing, such as that of Max, the blind bear from Sinaia who for years was chained up near Peleş Castle, where visiting tourists would pay to have their photo taken with him. They are also setting up a Teddy Bear Museum here centred around two huge bears donated by British bookmakers William Hill, which were originally used in a promotional campaign to encourage punters to take a flutter on the sex of a royal baby. Other bears have been donated by celebrities ranging from Brigitte Bardot to Luna Lovegood. There are also enclosures for wolves and deer. And yes, there are bears here named both Baloo and Yogi.  

(Photo: A brown bear at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary © Paul Brummell)

Back to the top

Transylvania articles

View all

The world’s spookiest destinations

Nine places only the bravest of travellers would dare visit ...


Our favourite UNESCO-listed towns

We take a look at some of the most beautiful UNESCO towns around the world. 


Dracula destinations for you to get your teeth into

From the places mentioned in Bram Stoker’s novel to sites linked to the life of Vlad the Impaler, the real historical figure who served as an inspiration for the fictional count – if you're seeking serious Dracula tourism these are the best places in Transylvania to visit. 


Related guides and other books

View all