Imagine living your entire life without ever feeling the softness of grass beneath your feet or the warmth of the sun on your face.
Napa the bear doesn’t have to imagine. Until recently, that was all he had ever known.
Napa was born in a zoo and then given to a circus in Serbia where he was forced to perform tricks for eager audiences.
In 2009, Serbia banned the use of wild animals in circuses, but that didn’t mean Napa’s life got any better. He was moved back to a zoo where he spent all of his time in a concrete enclosure.
When the people at Four Paws International, a U.S.-based organization that helps abused animals, heard Napa’s sad story, they knew they had to intervene.
In July, rescuers went to Serbia to get Napa. The sweet bear had no idea his whole life was about to change forever.
After tranquilizing Napa, the rescuers placed him in a crate to ready him for his big move. The journey spanned almost 900 miles and took 28 hours to complete, but finally, Napa was at his new home at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary in Switzerland.
At first, Napa was put into an enclosure where he could see his new environment without becoming too overwhelmed. He was given treats and a refreshing shower with a hose to help him feel safe and calm.
Soon, though, it was time for him to explore his new home!
When Napa first stepped into his new environment, he seemed to have a look of disbelief on his face, as if he couldn’t imagine the beautiful hills in front of him were actually for him!
“The door opens and Napa puts his paws on the grass,” Four Paws wrote. “Yesterday was a big day for the first resident of Arosa Bear Sanctuary. Napa was released into his beautiful outdoor enclosure with an amazing view over the Swiss mountains.”
Napa had lived a difficult and sad life up to this point, but it didn’t take him long to settle into his newfound freedom! While he had once seemed sad and exhausted, he soon began to appear energetic and excited.
“While we may not know all the details of Napa’s previous life, we do know it involved a small cage, lack of veterinary care, neglect and boredom,” said Claire LaFrance, director of communications for Four Paws. “Now Napa has an appropriate home for a captive-bred bear where he can run, climb and even swim all under breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps.”
While we’re sad Napa had to endure so much hardship for the first part of his life, we are so glad that he is now in a beautiful new home where he will be able to roam and receive all of the love and care he deserves!
We wish Napa all the best in his new life in Switzerland!
Are you happy to see Napa enjoying his new life? Then share it!