Bear Cubs Saved From Tourism Exploitation in Albania

The cubs were chained up and used for tourist photos.

Two bear cubs have been saved from a life of abuse in northern Albania.

Gianni and Sam were chained to a street corner by a hotel owner for tourist photo opportunities.

The pair have been moved to Italy's Rome Bioparco animal park, where they are now safe from mistreatment. The two join another cub Mary at the park, who was previously saved from a similar fate.

According to Rome Biopacro's curator Yitzhak Yadid, bears are often taken from the wild in Albania and exploited for tourism.

"I am talking about young animals being taken away from their mothers," Yadid told AP.

"And in this process some of their mothers are being killed because you don't need to take the bear cub away from their mother, it's impossible."

Yadid said aside from being used for photo opportunities, bear cubs are chained up and used for photos on beachs or put in cages near restaurants.

Both Gianni and Sam are now settled in their new home and are thriving.

According to Marco Subrizi, the manager of animal area at the Rome Bioparco, the cubs are eating well and are interacting with park staff.

They truly are a world away from their old life of abuse and suffering.