4 min read

Rescue Bear Skips Hibernating So He Can Play With This Log

It's the simple things in life ๐Ÿ˜‚

When a bear named Riku first arrived at a sanctuary last year, he had to adjust to an entirely different kind of life.

Riku had been kept chained up in a tiny shack next to a man's house in Albania. Most likely he had been kept captive since he was a small cub. By the time he was 2 years old, he was too big for his owner to handle. Day and night he was chained up, unable to feel sunlight or step on fresh grass. 

Bear kept as pet in Albania
Four Paws International

People from Four Paws International arrived in May 2017 to save Riku and bring him to Dancing Bears Park Belitsa in Bulgaria, a sanctuary for bears saved from abuse. 

Bear saved in Albania from being a pet
Four Paws International

For the first time since he was a tiny cub, Riku was able to roam freely, smell fresh air and meet other bears like him. 

It takes some time for bears who are saved from being kept in cages to adjust back to a more natural kind of life. 

One of the hardest things for rescued bears to do after being kept captive is hibernate. Not given the opportunity to build a den when in captivity means that newly rescued bears sometimes skip whole winters when they should be hibernating. 

Rescued bear climbing tree at sanctuary
Four Paws International

So rescuers weren't sure when Riku would learn to follow his instincts enough to sleep away the cold weather. 

"Watching him experience his new home was a wonderful moment for all of us. He was so relaxed and peaceful!" Carsten Hertwig, bear expert for Four Paws, said when Riku was first rescued.

Rescued bear playing with log in the snow
Four Paws International

Last year, Riku was clearly way too excited about the snow to even think about missing it. 

Video captures Riku's excitement about being in his new home over the colder season. When some of the more veteran rescue bears were making their dens, Riku elected to happily wrestle with a log. 

Rescued bear plays in the snow
Four Paws International

As adorable as the wrestling session was, Riku's rescuers hope that he'll feel the intuition to hibernate this year. 

Hibernating would indicate the Riku is on his way to feeling like a wild bear again. 

But even if Riku skips it again this year, he'll surely find plenty of ways to entertain himself. 

You can help Four Paws International save more bears like Riku by making a donation