Patrick the bear is freed into the wild after a year in human care

10 April 2016
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An orphaned young bear which was rescued in the mountains of Florina in northwestern Macedonia on March 2015 was released back into the wild on Wednesday after a year in the care of an environmental center.

Patrick, the bear, who was just a few weeks old when he was found by the Arktouros Environmental Organization, lived under the close supervision of his carers who provided food and shelter but also training on how to survive in nature for when he would be released. When he was found a year ago, Patrick weighed just three kilos and was weak. A year later, he’s a healthy young bear weighing 45 kilos that has learned to survive in nature.

According to Arktouros, Patrick’s care program was extended by almost two months because the unusually high temperatures in Greece didn’t allow him to go into hibernation. Therefore, instead of releasing the bear during winter in a hibernation nest, he was kept until spring so that he would be freed directly in the forest.

On Wednesday, Patrick was sedated and transported to a forest area, away from humans and inhabited regions, where he was freed. His carers left him food so that he wouldn’t have a difficulty surviving in the first few days of his new life. The staff of Arktouros said they will continue to monitor his movements through an attached collar-transmitter that will provide information on his well-being.

This is the third rehabilitation operation of an orphaned bear for the center and the most difficult, given the animal’s very young age.

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