Prior to 2000, the keeping of 'dancing bears' used to be a common attraction in Bulgaria. Although the torturous training was banned in 1998, there were still bears being forced to perform.
In 2000, DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa (now BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa) was established by FOUR PAWS and FONDATION BRIGITTE BARDOT, as a permanent location for housing former 'dancing bears' that were rescued by FOUR PAWS.
We rescued the last 'dancing bears' in Bulgaria.
In other countries, the cruel practice was still an issue. In 2009, the last Serbian 'dancing bears' were brought to the sanctuary in Bulgaria.
Finally, there was one remaining 'dancing bear' from Albania, who found a new home here in the sanctuary. This ended the cruel form of captivity in Europe for good.
As there are no more 'dancing bears' to rescue, we have changed the name to BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa. Our purpose now is to focus on rescuing bears from substandard zoos and private captivity, to ensure they receive proper care in a safe environment.