Bear Sam in Arosa
A partnership withFour PawsArosa


The bear from Skopje Zoo

Sam’s background

Sam was taken into Skopje Zoo in 2004 with his sister Jamila for animal welfare reasons - both bears had previously been found orphaned in the wild. There he lived alone in a dreary concrete pit. His main activity was waiting for his next feed. He was fed all year round and never went into a typical bear hibernation.


Sam at Zoo Skopje

Sam in concrete pit at Skopje Zoo before coming to Arosa


The zoo, however, came to its own conclusion that the dilapidated bear enclosure was far from suitable for the animals. Renovation was not possible for operational and financial reasons. So the managers at the zoo decided to hand over Sam and his sister Jamila to a better place, and they contacted the animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS. FOUR PAWS lent a hand and on 20 May 2022, brought the siblings, who had been kept apart, to the Arosa Bear Sanctuary.

Arrival at Arosa Bear Sanctuary
The journey from Skopje to Arosa via Greece and Italy went smoothly. When Sam left the transport box in the afternoon of 20 May 2022, he withdrew immediately into the cave. He remained under cover until late in the night, when he visited the inner enclosure for the first time and cautiously explored.

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  • Male brown bear
  • Born 2004
  • Weight: Late autumn 260kg / early summer 170kg
  • Found in the wild as an orphaned cub, she and her sister Jamila were taken over by Skopje Zoo for welfare reasons.
  • Lived alone in a concrete pit for the past 18 years
  • At the Arosa Bear Sanctuary since 20 May 2022

Sam’s life in Arosa
Sam initially took the pieces of meat offered in the inner enclosure back into the cave and ate them there. After a few days, he also started to rest outside of the cave and eat pieces of meat there. Sam became increasingly confident. As expected, however, Sam also demonstrated behavioural problems. He walked back and forth along a fence for several hours. In the fourth week following his arrival, Sam was increasingly active in the morning and showed interest in the open gate to the outdoor enclosure. His first bath in the nearby pond only lasted a few minutes. However, in the following days, the small male bear felt more comfortable and explored the outdoor enclosure thoroughly.

Sam im Arosa Bärenland

Sam made progress and explored the large outdoor enclosure at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary

After living for 18 years in a monotonous concrete pit, starting his new life at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary was a huge challenge. We gave him the time he needed to cautiously and gradually get used to the natural surroundings, which were completely new to him. The goal of the Arosa Bear Sanctuary is for these mistreated bears to learn natural behaviour and thus be able to overcome their behavioural problems.

Visit Sam the bear at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary!