Monday, 28 January 2013



In May of 2011 we said a fond farewell to our little Teddy as he made his way to Austria to start his new life. It was a bitter sweet moment for each and everyone of us who had grown so fond of Teddy; but none more than Ismail, who had been the main caretaker of Teddy throughout his time at New Hope. It was then that we made a promise to Ismail for him to go and see for himself how Teddy had settled in at Arbesbach Bear Park and we are thrilled to report that almost 18 months later we were able to keep our promise to him!

In October, Ismail and our resident vet Dr.  Abdulla left for Austria, where they would visit Teddy, and also have the opportunity to work alongside Stefan Knopfler (our ‘bear-consultant’ from Baerenwald Arbesbach for Vier Pfoten International) and learn as much as they could about ‘all things bears’! It was a big adventure for both men, and especially for Ismail, who was not only going to be reunited with the bear he had grown so fond of, but was also travelling outside of his home country, Jordan, for the first time in his life !

The plane brought them to Vienna, where a member of the Baerenwald-team collected them from the airport, and after a 2 and a half hour drive through the breathtaking Austrian landscape they finally reached Arbesbach.  This beautiful and peaceful sanctuary houses 7 rescued bears at this time, but of course their first visit was to Teddy. Ismail couldn’t believe what he saw: his little Teddy had grown up to be a huge, healthy, confident and very happy bear!

In the next 10 days, the men worked closely with the team, and learned all there is to know about feeding, enclosure-enrichment, medical care and hygiene plans, as well as how to observe and document each individual bear’s daily routine and behavior, in order to get to know each bear’s personality and individual needs.

It was a great learning experience for Abdulla and Ismail, and this trip has certainly changed the way they look at bears. Having all this new information in their pockets, they returned to Jordan and the New Hope Center to put all this new knowledge into practice. Since their return we have witnessed the building and developing of all kinds of new toys and objects for our resident bear Balou, who seems to be very pleased with them!

By being able to fulfill our promise to Ismail, the life of Balou and all the other animals at New Hope have become  more pleasant and interesting as they try to figure out their new ‘toys’. This is a prime example of how important it is to keep educating ourselves and how much fun it can be at the same time!

We would like to sincerely thank Vier Pfoten International and the amazing team of Baerenwald Arbesbach for making this trip possible and a great success. We are proud to call you our friends!

For more information about Baerenwald Arbesbach and Vier Pfoten, please visit their websites.