Jamila at Arosa Bear Sanctuary
A partnership withFour PawsArosa


The bear from Skopje Zoo


Jamilla’s background

Jamila and her brother Sam were taken into Skopje Zoo in 2004 for animal welfare reasons - both bears had previously been found orphaned in the wild. There she lived alone in a dreary concrete pit. The animal keepers had no access to the enclosure, they threw the food over the wall and removed the dung using long tongs over the wall. The water basin leaked so Jamila did not always have access to water. She was fed all year round and never went into a typical bear hibernation.

Jamila in concrete pit at Skopje Zoo before coming to Arosa.

Jamila in concrete pit at Skopje Zoo before coming to Arosa.

The zoo, however, came to its own conclusion that the dilapidated bear enclosure was far from suitable for the animals. Renovation was not possible for operational and financial reasons. So the managers at the zoo decided to hand over Jamila and her brother Sam to a better place, and they contacted the animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS. FOUR PAWS lent a hand and on 20 May 2022, brought the siblings, who had been kept apart, to the Arosa Bear Sanctuary.


Arrival at Arosa Bear Sanctuary

The journey from Skopje to Arosa via Greece and Italy went smoothly. When Jamila left the transport box in the afternoon of 20 May 2022, she observed the inner enclosure from her shed with great apprehension. Her uncertainty about all things new was obvious. Then she began to sniff all the objects in the inner enclosure and to reassure herself that nothing would happen. To rest, she always returned to her cave. After several days, she also started to rest outside of the cave. However, she was still frightened if she heard new noises. Jamila was much occupied with searching for food. Jamila’s behavioural problems were apparent when she walked along a defined route for several hours each day and turned her head repeatedly, which is typical for mistreated bears.

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  • Female brown bear
  • Born 2004
  • Weight: Weight: Late autumn 130kg / early summer 80kg
  • She was fed all year round and never went into a typical bear hibernation.
  • Lived alone in a concrete pit for the past 18 years
  • At the Arosa Bear Sanctuary since 20 May 2022

Jamila’s life in Arosa

In the eyes of the animal keepers, the bear was unsure and nervous in the first weeks. However, after more than a month, Jamila was so comfortable with the situation in the indoor enclosure that we opened the gate to the north outdoor enclosure for her. She faced this new challenge with great caution and made progress each day.


Jamila in the outdoor enclosure in Arosa

Jamila is fighting for her new life at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary and is making progress every day.


Jamila at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary
Jamila lived in a dreary concrete pit for 18 years. For Jamila - and for all the other bears with behavioural problems in Arosa - walking into uncharted territory was a remarkable learning process.

 Visit Jamila the bear at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary!