Heartwarming: Rescued Bear Embraces Freedom, Skips Hibernation to Play

In a heartwarming tale of resilience, a bear named Riku chose to forgo hibernation and embrace his newfound freedom by engaging in playful antics with a log.

Riku’s journey began when he was rescued from a life of captivity in Albania and brought to Dancing Bears Park Belitsa in Bulgaria, a sanctuary dedicated to rehabilitating bears that have endured abuse.

Watch the video at the end.


After years of captivity, Riku’s owners could no longer handle his size and sought assistance from Four Paws International, who came to his rescue in May 2017.

Riku’s early years were spent confined to a tiny shack, chained up day and night, devoid of sunlight and the touch of fresh grass.

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Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Riku experienced true liberation for the first time since he was a small cub.


He could freely roam, relish the scent of fresh air, and socialize with other bears who shared similar stories.

However, transitioning from a life of confinement to liberty is challenging. For rescued bears like Riku, relearning natural behaviors, including hibernation, requires time and adjustment.

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The absence of opportunities to construct dens during their captivity often results in some bears skipping entire winters when they should be hibernating.


Rescuers remained uncertain about when Riku would instinctively succumb to the cold weather and embrace hibernation.

Despite their hopes, Riku’s overwhelming enthusiasm for his new surroundings led him to prioritize playtime over slumber.

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Captivating video footage showcases Riku’s excitement during the colder season as he joyfully engages in wrestling matches with a log while veteran rescue bears diligently prepare their dens.


Carsten Hertwig, a bear expert for Four Paws, expressed delight in witnessing Riku’s initial exploration of his new home. “Watching him experience his new home was an incredible moment for all of us.

He was so relaxed and peaceful!” Hertwig exclaimed. While the rescuers aspire for Riku to exhibit hibernation instincts this year, they understand that it is a gradual process towards reclaiming his wild bear nature.

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Whether or not Riku decides to skip hibernation once again, his sanctuary home offers many opportunities for amusement and entertainment.


This remarkable bear’s journey serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and capacity for joy that can be found in the face of adversity.

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Watch the video below:

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