Volunteer in a Bear Sanctuary in Romania

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Video and Photos

Volunteer at a bear sanctuary in Romania
Volunteer at a bear sanctuary in Romania
Bear sanctuary in Romania
Bear sanctuary in Romania
Volunteer with bears in Romania
Volunteer with bears in Romania
Gap year with bears
Gap year with bears
Conservation volunteering in Romania
Conservation volunteering in Romania

About

Volunteer in Eastern Europe's largest bear sanctuary where you will be assisting the staff to rehabilitate and provide a comfortable environment for rescued bears. These bears have been victims of abuse, many experiencing life in tiny enclosures or being forced to perform for tourists.

Having never been exposed to living within the realms of normal bear behaviour, climbing trees, foraging for food and hibernating through winter is completely alien to these bears.

You will aid in changing all this by helping to run the day to day chores of the sanctuary. With each bear eating up to 10kg of food a day, this is a major operation! You will prepare their food daily and help monitor rehabilitation progress, help with conservation, and assist with educational sanctuary tours.

The sanctuary is located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, just outside the medieval city of Brasov. This is a moving and worthwhile project and a chance to really contribute to animal welfare.

Highlights
  • See over 90 bears living a life as close to the wild as possible after their tragic pasts.
  • Watch the bears climb trees, amuse themselves in the lakes, chase each other and play fight together.
  • Explore stunning Transylvania in your free time, from Dracula's Castle to the Carpathian Mountains.
  • Live in medieval Brasov with other volunteers.
  • Make a genuine contribution to animal welfare and conservation.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.73 Rating
based on 15 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 15
Default avatar
Vic
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Brilliant Bear’s

If you have an interest in Bear’s this is one of the most amazing trips you will go on in Romania. You get to meet over 100 bears & work with them. You will also get to meet other animals there as well. You will stay in the beautiful town of Brasov where there is so much sightseeing you can do & so many different places to visit.
It is a very beautiful & amazing place to visit. Oyster worldwide were an amazing company to go with as they support you right from the very moment you book, they can organise your flights as well as lots of other things. They are there for you throughout your trip & support you on your return home. The one thing I would say is just go with an open mind & don’t put any expectations on the trip, just go with & have the most amazing adventure of a lifetime.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Flying there. I am afraid of flying, but I got on the plane on my own & did it.
Default avatar
Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wish I'd have stayed longer!

I really enjoyed my experience with Oyster Worldwide. I'd never booked a volunteering project on my own, so I was grateful at how friendly, welcoming and helpful the team were. They were regularly in contact and redirected me to someone who could help with booking flights when I was struggling to find a good one. I booked for a week at an animal sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Oyster provided airport transfers, which made the whole thing a lot less scary! I'd never been to the country before or travelled alone, so this was very reassuring.

When I arrived at my accommodation, a guide was there to greet me. He had also brought me a welcome meal, which I greatly appreciated as it was really late by the time I'd arrived, meaning there was no time for me to do any shopping. Essentials were provided in the apartment. These included: washing up liquid, toilet roll, hand wash, towels and washing powder. I thought that this was an unexpected but nice touch, as I ideally didn't want to waste money on buying these things if I was only there for a week. The accommodation was really safe, quiet and comfortable. A few other volunteers shared with me, which was nice for the social aspect. I was also given the opportunity to go visit some iconic places whilst I was there, one of which transport was provided by Oyster.

After the weekend, I began my experience at the sanctuary. Oyster arranged for a driver to pick us up and bring us back to the accommodation every day. We started work at 9am and finished around half 2 in the afternoon. One volunteer would be in charge of a phone given to us by the guide, which he used to stay in contact with us whilst we were at the sanctuary. If there was ever a problem, the guide sorted it out immediately.

Whilst I would've liked to spend more time at the sanctuary, what work we did do was rewarding and fun. The sanctuary allowed us to embark on the feeding tour too, which was amazing. We got to see a lot of what the tourists didn't, which felt special and worth every penny. My only regret is that I didn't stay longer!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have stayed for at least 2 weeks. I think that when you go for a week you just start to settle into a routine and then have to leave straight away almost. With 2 weeks, you get to know the animals more, become more efficient at the jobs in the sanctuary, can explore more and have more time to visit the tourist attractions.
Default avatar
Suzanne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I volunteered at the brown bear sanctuary in Romania for a week in May 2019. The sanctuary is set in an amazing rural location in the mountains and has a welcoming dog brigade. I was impressed with the conditions provided at the sanctuary. My most memorable highlight of the project was observing the pleasure on the bears faces as they enjoyed taking a therapeutic dip in the water.
Most of the volunteer work involves food preparation and it can be monotonous at times but it can also be fun and it is important to the bears since bears need a lot of food.
We were able to observe the bear feeding process on the last day and it was an amazing experience to watch the bears come out of the forest for the food and to see the bears enjoying the food we have prepared.
Brasov is a lovely town in a central location and the standard of accommodation provided by the project was excellent.

What was your funniest moment?
Observing brown bears taking a dip in the water and seeing the pleasure on their faces as they enjoyed the therapeutic effects of the water.
Default avatar
Caoimhe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!

Getting to work with the bear sanctuary in Romania is an amazing trip that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in bears.
From start to finish this trip felt relaxed, manageable and worthwhile. I had an amazing time, made friends and came home with some incredible memories.
Oyster Worldwide were a huge part of my positive experience, I would 100% recommend them to anyone interested in volunteering abroad!

What would you improve about this program?
I couldn't fault this program :)
Response from Oyster Worldwide

Hi Caoimhe,
It's so pleasing to read your review about our bear sanctuary in Romania. Thanks for taking the time to write :)

Default avatar
Seán
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

If you love animals and want to spend hours in close proximity to beautiful bears and amazing scenery then this project is perfect for you. The team at oyster are extremely helpful and accommodating making the experience the best it could have possibly been. The accommodation is amazing as it is right in the town close to so many restaurants, tourist spots and facilities. And getting to work in the sanctuary itself was a privilege.

Response from Oyster Worldwide

Hi Sean,
Thanks for your kind words, so glad you had fun with the bears :)

Default avatar
Adam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 Weeks With the Amazing Bears

I spent 2 weeks working at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Romania and this was by far the best experience I've ever had and it exceeded my expectations in many ways.

The booking process was easy and the payments are broken down into smaller chunks. Anne is always available to answer questions and help get you prepared. I was impressed with how smooth and stress free booking with Oyster was and they provide all the info you need before you go.

On arrival in Brasov, despite being delayed by traffic, Razvan (the Romanian rep) took us out for a welcome meal where we met the other volunteers. I was in a central hotel as the apartment was full but it was comfy and clean and only 5 mins round the corner. I was very well supported from the beginning to the end of my stay. Brasov is a gorgeous place to live and is filled with good food and friendly people.

Working at the sanctuary surrounded by the bears and doggy friends in such a tranquil and beautiful setting was, for me, an absolute honour and I would go back there tomorrow if I could. If you get stuck in and help with the work, the rewards are incredible. We got to ride along with the staff during feeding time and watch the bears enjoy the food we had prepared for them, It was amazing to see them freed from their previously hellish conditions and simply enjoying themselves in the trees and ponds.

I would recommend this project to anyone who loves bears or wants to make a genuine difference. You will be well looked after and make some great new friends along the way.

Response from Oyster Worldwide

Hi Adam,
Wonderful to hear about your experience in Romania, glad you had so much fun!

Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 incredible months in bear country

I truly could not recommend this trip enough.
The pre-trip organisation was excellent, and I went to Romania feeling very prepared. Upon arrival, I was met by Razvan - Oyster's Romanian representative, and shown around the accommodation, which was very modern and really lovely!
Spending time at the sanctuary was a dream come true. You can really tell that your money is being spent somewhere worthwhile, and that the work that you are doing there is really making a difference.

As I said before, I couldn't recommend this trip enough.
Excellently organised, and I felt that I had experienced a lot of the local area and culture through the organised castle trips.

What would you improve about this program?
Osyter Worldwide should keep doing what they're doing! Excellent trip.
Response from Oyster Worldwide

Hi Emily,
So great to read your review and to learn how much you got from your experience volunteering with the bears, thanks for your review!

Default avatar
Simon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Betsy my Icecream making mentor

All 80 + bears are lovely but you are bound to choose favourite. Mine was Betsy(26 year old lady rescued from Texas).
In the work I became an expert in making 2ice-cream2 for the bears ,make up of various ex supermarket dairy produce and bread. In 2 weeks and after 1000 cartons I feel confident I set a word record time for opening mascarpone cartons. Betsy watched my work at close quarters and nodded sagely at my progress. The work is fun and rewarding and you sense also valuable to the hardworking staff at the3 sanctuary.
The whole experience ran very smoothly and Razvan was a brilliant and super-supportive host.
It was great to meet and make a good friend in my co-volunteer over the 2 weeks.

What would you improve about this program?
It was all good. Perhaps hearing from the founder in person for a short time would be nice.