Slovenian pet bear cub put in shelter after 'kidnap'

Lucky the bear cub is settled at his new home in Romania (picture: Four Paws)
Image caption Lucky was fitted with a GPS collar on his arrival in Romania

A wild bear cub which was adopted by a Slovenian family, then apparently kidnapped, has finally been settled in a home for orphaned bears in Romania.

The male cub charmed Slovenia with his antics, including hugging the family dog and playing on the furniture.

The family wanted to build a permanent enclosure for the brown bear but were persuaded he would become too big and dangerous, and should go to a shelter.

But before he could be removed, he disappeared, apparently stolen.

"Just one day before our team of experts arrived, his enclosure was broken into and the young bear was kidnapped," said Johanna Stadler, director of Four Paws, an animal welfare charity.

After police were involved and the charity offered a 1,100-euro (£1,000) reward, the bear was recovered from a young man who said he had found the cub.

Police said they were still investigating the bear's disappearance, and whether he was indeed stolen.

Wandered in

Now about five months old, it is believed the cub was abandoned by his mother.

He has become known as Lucky, or just Medo (Slovenian: Bear), and has captivated sections of the press in Slovenia, a mountainous state with a brown bear population.

Image caption Pictures of the family dog getting bear hugs charmed Slovenians

The Logar family said he wandered into their yard in the village of Podvrh about two months ago.

But while they bonded with him, they were warned that he would become dangerous to the family and their pet Rottweiler dog.

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is one of the largest living land-based carnivores and males grow to weigh up to 350kg (770lb).

The cub has now been taken by Four Paws to a bear orphanage in Harghita, Romania, which prepares bears for a return to the wild.

"There, he will be cared for by our top experts. In a few years he will then be able to return to his home in Slovenia," said Ms Stadler.