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2 brown bears rescued from captivity in Kosovo

Thursday - 5/23/2013, 12:58pm  ET

Male brown bear Ari and female bear Arina in a bear sanctuary, after being rescued from a decade of captivity in a privately run illegal zoo, Thursday, May 23, 2013, in the village of Mramor near the Kosovo capital Pristina . Two brown bears, Ari and Arina have been released into a bear Sanctuary, in Kosovo after being rescued from a decade of captivity in a 20 square meter cage to amuse visitors of a restaurant, Kosovo officials say. Authorities released the 10-year old male and female bears on Thursday to a wider enclosure set up by the international animal charity group Four Paws. The organisation was called in to help sedate and transport the animals. ( AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
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MRAMOR, Kosovo (AP) -- Two brown bears have been released into a special sanctuary after being held in a 20-square-meter cage almost their entire lives to amuse visitors at a Kosovo restaurant.

Ari and Arina, both 10 years old, were taken to their new, much larger home, by the international animal charity group Four Paws, which helped sedate and transport them.

Kosovo does not allow private ownership of wild animals, a measure it hasn't always enforced. Police on Wednesday held back the restaurant's angry owners as the bears were taken away.

An Environment Ministry statement said the bears were happy with their new home, which lies outside the capital, Pristina.

It says authorities expect to rescue another 15 bears in illegal captivity -- at restaurants, private zoos and other places -- by year's end.

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