A Rescue Bear Skips Hibernating So He Can Play With This Log

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.

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.

For the first time since he was a tiny cub, Riku was able to roam freely, smell the 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 hibernated. 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.

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, the bear expert for Four Paws, said when Riku was first rescued.

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

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