An almost natural home for wild animals.

The STIFTUNG für BÄREN (foundation for bears) promotes the well-being of wolves, lynxes, and bears. The only species-appropriate environment for wild animals is freedom in the wild! That’s why this animal protection association promotes the preservation of natural habitats — and an end to the breeding of animals in captivity. In other words, it aims to educate people and save animals! ProCent is supporting this foundation with a donation.

Wolves, lynxes, and bears used to be native to Europe. They were key components of our ecosystem. But for more than a century they were considered extinct in Europe. Wolves and lynxes are now gradually returning, and the return of brown bears is only a matter of time.

The breeding programs in zoos and zoological parks are being continued — but they are less successful than programs for preserving species in their natural habitats. The animals bred in captivity are no longer accustomed to living in the wild. In many cases, they are held in captivity as circus performers. They are forced to spend most of their lives in cramped transport vehicles, where they generally have nothing to occupy them and their instinctive behavior is restricted. In addition, they are trained to perform unnatural “tricks.” Wild animals have extremely exacting requirements regarding their climatic environment, care, and feeding. The conditions of their captivity in circuses seldom satisfy these requirements. The animals suffer and develop serious behavioral disorders.

In the open-air facilities of the animal protection association , wolves, lynxes, and bears that were previously held in unnatural conditions receive a new home that is as natural as possible. Most of the animals have been confined in small cages for years. Now they can finally roam around, splash in the water, and dig winter shelters for themselves.

We aren’t zookeepers — we are animal welfare agents and offer the animals a rehabilitation program.

Robin Schukraft, animal welfare agent

"We aren’t zookeepers — we are animal welfare agents. In our projects we aim to offer the animals a rehabilitation program", says Robin Schukraft. "But this only works if we maintain a community of bears and wolves or bears and lynxes. That’s because this kind of coexistence reanimates and promotes the respective wild animals’ instincts to some extent."

In the foundation’s animal protection projects, animal lovers can walk along demarcated paths and watch these animals as they regain some of their natural behavior patterns. These observation paths do not disturb the wild animals in their respective reservations. The foundation offers fascinating educational tours and other events that bring the participants close to the animals. Presentations by experts inform interested audiences about the subspecies, origins, and behavior of bears, wolves, and lynxes, as well as animal and species conservation. Specific information about these three species is provided in the projects’ education centers. Here visitors can see preserved specimens and the hides, skulls, teeth, paws, and claws of naturally deceased animals. It’s best not to get this close to a bear’s paw or a wolf’s claw in real life!

The STIFTUNG für BÄREN  also documents abuses, supports research projects, and organizes scientific conferences all over Europe regarding the keeping of animals. Therefore Daimler donates already in 2017 for the Installation for cameras to monitoring and scientific documentation.

The foundation workers’ experience and professional knowledge is continuously shared in order to support other animal parks and private keeping of animals. The foundation publicizes its readiness to adopt animals and is willing to take in animals that need a new home.

The STIFTUNG für BÄREN is also the publisher of the magazine Bärenspur (bear tracks). This magazine offers detailed reports on the fate of the animals in the protected environments, informs readers about the worldwide threats to bears, wolves, and lynxes, and advocates for the resettlement of these species in their natural habitats.

The foundation is currently receiving more and more questions about the harmful or inadequate keeping of lynxes. In cases where animal protection is an urgent issue, it is calling for the resettlement of the lynxes in open-air reservations in the Black Forest, which closely approximate the animals’ natural environment.

Another current demand is to design the two reservations, for wolves and bears and for bears and lynxes respectively, in such a way as to integrate the paired species. This would require an expansion of the existing electric fencing and the mechanically secured fencing surrounding the respective habitats. For example, the wolf packs have to be securely separated, and the wolves have to be kept apart from the lynxes. The foundation workers are planning to create natural shelters and ensure an adequate supply of water. They are also developing a concept for a special refuge for lynxes and a viewing platform from which visitors can watch these animals. Daimler is donating € 7,500 from its ProCent Initiative for the purchase of fencing and fenceposts for the project