For two years, Tomi the bear has been kept in a tiny cage outside a run-down restaurant in the mountains of Albania.
He is there because business just wasn’t going well for the owner of the restaurant, situated in beautiful mountains 40 miles north of the capital Tirana, and so two years ago this man decided to add Tomi as a tourist attraction, to help build his business.
Tomi used to roam the nearby mountains, and the restaurant owner paid a veterinarian to shoot the brown bear with a tranquilizer gun and bring him back to the restaurant, where he was stuck in a 20ft by 10ft cage. Business boomed as diners watched the animal and also fed him junk food.
When Lisa Martin heard about this, she was appalled and decided to create a Care2 petition.
As she read more about Tomi’s situation, she discovered that the brown bear was in fact dependent on the generosity of visitors to feed him scraps of food, and that his “owner” sometimes forgot to even give him water. Click here to see more photos of the atrocious conditions and the life this bear has been subjected to.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from Daily Mail online video
Martin created her petition, which read:
“Please sign and help get Tomi out of this hell hole.
This is cruelty and Tomi needs to live in a sanctuary away from this awful place.”
More than 75,000 awesome Care2 members signed up to help free Tomi.
As a result, here is Martin’s most recent posting:
“It worked!! We would like to inform you that the Albanian authorities have taken the appropriate measures to protect the bear and move Tomi to a Kosovo sanctuary, which caters to the needs of Brown bears who have suffered cruelty. Tomi will be going to the sanctuary in Oct.”
Thank you, Lisa Martin, and all the Care2 members who signed her petition.
Care2 activists were joined by numerous animal welfare websites and other concerned animal lovers who contacted the Albanian Embassy in the U.K. to urge the government to take action to free Tomi.
Albania’s Environment Minister, Lefter Koka, said Tomi would be moved to Bear Sanctuary Prishtina in Kosovo in October. The sanctuary specializes in the care of brown bears previously subjected to appalling cruelty.
The Cruelty Of Putting Animals In Cages
Tomi is not alone, however. Sadly, it’s estimated that there may be as many as 80 brown bears in cages throughout Albania being used to attract visitors.
This is in spite of the fact that the brown bear is protected by law in Albania, and it’s illegal to keep one of these animals.
But how does watching an unhappy, underfed, depressed bear in a cage make for a good tourist experience? And more importantly, when will humans stop exploiting animals for their own profit?
Lisa Martin started her Care2 petition because she was outraged at the injustice of Tomi in his tiny cage.