Volunteering with bears in Romania
Description of Volunteering with bears in Romania
Many people's love affair with bears starts with their first teddy, and lasts a life time. As one of the world's favourite creatures, it comes as a great surprise that these mighty creatures are often mistreated, hunted and imprisoned for capital gain. You will be helping to protect and care for bears that have been victim of this sad abuse in the beautiful setting of the Romanian mountains.
For years bears in Romania have been trophy-hunted, forced to dance in the streets and trapped in cages outside restaurants. Kept in cruelly cramped conditions and regularly abused by their owners, these bears are now being rescued and brought to Romania's largest bear sanctuary, just outside Brasov.
You will be helping out at this bear sanctuary, working to provide the haven for the bears that they so need. Volunteers have been helping at the bear sanctuary ever since its creation in 2006. The sanctuary is now home to over 100 bears, providing them with densely forested enclosures with pools and plenty of food.
Your days will be spent around the sanctuary, ensuring the best rehabilitation and care possible for these bears. This ranges from preparing their food to monitoring their well-being to simply enjoying watching their capers.
Accommodation and food
You will live in the centre of the medieval city of Brasov in a warm and comfortable self-catering flat that we will rent for you and our other volunteers. The flat is just a few minutes walk from the centre of the city, with all of its lovely restaurants, bars and cafes.
Romania is often described by our volunters as the "hidden gem" of Eastern Europe, and there is plenty to do in your free time. The Carpathian Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop to all that you do, with plenty of great walks as well as the famous Dracula's Castle just up the road. We arrange day trips out and around the local area at weekends so that you can really immerse yourself in local life and culture.
|Arrival:||Arrival day to Bucharest airport is a Friday. You will be collected from the airport and taken on the 3 hour drive up to Brasov. A welcome dinner awaits!|
|Weekend 1:||On Saturday and Sunday you will be shown around the local area and helped to settle in to your new home. We arrange a half day trip to see Dracula's Castle and several other local sights.|
|Weekdays:||From Monday - Friday you will be working up at the bear sanctuary. Enjoy!|
|Weekends:||Take some downtime to relax, unwind and explore this beautiful area.|
|Last day:||The end date of your trip is a Friday when you will be taken back to Bucharest for your onwards flight. This is the same whether you are staying 1 week or 4!|
Not much has changed today and recycling in Romania is still not common place. In light of this, the bear sanctuary that this project takes place in wants to make a difference where it comes to eliminating plastics and recycling its waste - something that makes it stand apart.
Clean drinking water is provided both in the accommodation and at the bear sanctuary.
We are also looking into purchasing hydro flasks for all volunteers so that they can choose to take hot or cold beverages out with them, avoiding the need to purchase water bottles or coffee on the go.
31 Reviews of Volunteering with bears in Romania
Reviewed on 16 Jun 2019 by Suzanne JonesWe saw a number of bears taking a dip in the water and I enjoyed seeing the pleasure on their faces as they enjoyed the therapeutic effects of the water Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Nov 2018 by Deborah RobsonExcellent. Exceeded my expectations, all very well organised, very good accommodation with lots of help from local rep. Brasov had plenty to offer and the bears were amazing! Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Oct 2018 by Melinda KerrThe most memorable part of the holiday was...getting to spend time watching the bears play together, and seeing them all so happy. Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Oct 2018 by Nathan CresswellI think the most memorable part for me was seeing the bears be fed on the feeding tour with the things we had prepped that week. I also thought it was a great privilege to be in the park after visiting hours and be able to see the bears hang on trees and play in pools with you as the only human witnessing this. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Oct 2017 by Angela NunnI was walking passed one of the mother and cub enclosers on my way to catch my lift home when I looked in and the mother was just laying on her back and the three cubs were all Having some milk from her. She hadn’t got a care in the world. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Sep 2017 by Mary MotteramEating my lunch watching the bears being bears was the most memorable! A wonderful experience which combined living in a city with the rural component as the sanctuary was 45 minutes from the town. Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Sep 2016 by Ferida ReidThis experience was 11 out of 10...the trip of a lifetime. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 May 2016 by Rowena DarkThis really is the most memorable holiday I've had in many years Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Dec 2016 by Susan WoodThe first day at the bear sanctuary and first sight of the bears in such wonderful surroundings was very exciting and most memorable. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Oct 2016 by Louise JonesThe most amazing experience. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole two weeks and wished I had booked to stay there longer. Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Jul 2016 by Jane AdcockThe bear sanctuary is in the most beautiful of places, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Apr 2016 by Melinda millermonI enjoyed seeing the bears and watching them in their natural environment. I also learned a lot about them and their plight. Awesome I want to go back. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Oct 2015 by Angela RansomeAbsolutely amazing - so good I will definitely return in 2 - 3 years time Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Oct 2015 by Shannon ClarkeAbsolutely amazing. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend. I have actually recommended it to everybody who'll listen. Read full review
Reviewed on 09 Nov 2015 by Rosemary HindleyIt is a beautiful peaceful place and watching all the bears eating, splashing about in their pools, climbing trees and just enjoying their surroundings was a fantastic experience Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Jun 2015 by Desna McAllExcellent....Yes - money definitely went into the local economy and I hope my efforts helped in some small way towards bear rescue Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Sep 2014 by Sarah BurmanBears! Bears ! Bears!......absolutely amazing to spend time with these wonderful creatures. Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Sep 2014 by Clanci FergusonI have volunteered with other organisations in conservation and animal welfare and found in comparison the co-ordination for this was exemplary, the time working was balanced by time I had to wander the sanctuary or explore the surrounding area. Highly recommended! Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Sep 2014 by Estelle BarnesAmazing! I was taking a year's sabbatical and this trip was the top of my list. It didn't disappoint and should be on every animal lover's 'bucket list'. I went for 6 weeks, returned for another 6 weeks the following year and fully intend to go back as soon as I can! Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Oct 2014 by Debby FirminIt was an amazing experience, I will never forget all of those bears and the valuable work of the staff at the sanctuary and the organisations funding it. Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Oct 2014 by Esther OstrowerThe holiday was excellent. I had a chance to contribute my time and money to animals that deserve a better future then their past. Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Sep 2014 by Katherine LethbridgeBeing able to see the bears was great, as I had never seen real bears before and it was great to see their behaviour. Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Nov 2013 by Amanda HathwayFantastic and didn't want to leave. Definitely would like to go back again and stay longer! Everyone was wonderful...top would be watching the bears play in the water, eat, and just enjoying the fact that they now lead a happy life thanks to those that have rescued them and look after them. Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Jan 2013 by Chloe GrableEverything. I loved every moment of it! As an animal lover, just being able to see so many bears interacting with each other and living freely in such a fantastic sanctuary was an experience I won't ever forget! Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Nov 2013 by Linda GardinerA really unique experience! Romania is a beautiful country and it was great to be able to spend several weeks there and get to know one part of it. Read full review
Reviewed on 31 May 2013 by Lynda BeardReally enjoyable, if you're an animal/nature lover you'll love it. :) Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Feb 2013 by Kate SheddenI absolutely loved my trip to Romania. This hidden gem of Europe has it all, beautiful mountainous countryside, historical buildings and friendly locals. Escaping to the tranquil bear mountain everyday to hang out with our four legged friends (bears and the dogs) was a pleasure. Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Jan 2013 by Alexandra CominoI had a wonderful time...Simply hanging out with the bears everyday was an incredible experience/privilege. Watching them play and forage as happy, free bears is indescribable. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Jan 2013 by Jacqueline BellI felt the holiday was wonderful....it was wonderful to be able to spend time just watching the bears in a natural environment. Read full review
Reviewed on 01 Aug 2012 by Hans BerentsEvery day was even more exciting than the last, because each day meant something new to learn and love. But I must say, getting to sit in silence with the bears on a daily basis is not just a memory I will cherish forever, it was an honour. Bears. Bears. Bears. Bears. Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Apr 2012 by Wulfric WillisThe bears! What more memorable a thing could have happened?! It was great, seeing the bears everyday, just watching them in a natural state, interacting with one another, and taking photos of them. It was brilliant. Read full review
PlanetOur projects are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this challenge – a sense of achievement, broader horizons and some wonderful memories. But we make sure that local people, the environment and wildlife benefit too.
Supporting local wildlife
It almost goes without explanation to state how strongly this project supports local wildlife. The staff at the sanctuary can very rarely say no to animals that need to be taken care of, and as such you will find some very happy dogs can also call the sanctuary home. The educational emphasis on the sanctuary is important, as it helps children from this area of the world to understand the importance of caring for wildlife and in particular the bears.
Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.
We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.
PeopleMeeting local needs
Romania is not wealthy and institutions like the bear sanctuary rely on volunteers. We have been running programmes in this area since 1999 and have long-standing relationships with local people. This means we have a good idea of where help is needed, and can ensure volunteers make a real contribution.
The project also helps the local economy. Our participants spend money on food and leisure; we pay rent and employ a local Romanian as our representative. In addition, we donate money regularly to the various projects in response to their needs.
Our pre-departure briefing includes a special session entitled ‘Responsible Tourism’ where we discuss cultural differences and sensitivities as well as advising volunteers on appropriate conduct. People a briefed on what is considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and dressing. It is encouraged that all volunteers learn some Romanian prior to departure, and they get a helping hand whilst out there as well.
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