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Refuge for Miljen: France Gives Sanctuary to Bosnian Crime Boss’ Bear

Miljen the bear suffered near starvation after being kept in a cage in a gangster’s private zoo in Bosnia for eight years. But on Wednesday a new chapter began as he arrived at his new home in France, with two female bears waiting to keep him company.

Everyone likes a happy ending. And that is exactly what seems to be in the cards for Miljen. The bear from Bosnia-Herzegovina fell into the hands of a gangster as a cub and was recently found nearly starved in a cage. On Wednesday he arrived in France to live the high life in a sanctuary with two female bears as companions.

Back in 2000 after his mother was killed by hunters, Miljen was sold as a cub to a local mafia boss who had a private zoo. The man kept his exotic pets, such as Siberian tigers, in the garden of a hotel he owned which acted as a hang-out for local crime figures. In 2005 the crime boss was thrown in jail for human trafficking and most of the animals were sent to zoos but somehow Miljen was left stranded in his cage. He was kept alive by Darko Sevic, one of the hotel’s waiters, who could only afford to feed him a loaf of bread a day and any scraps left over from the hotel restaurant. “I feel ashamed that he was in such a bad condition,” Sevic told Reuters. “I tried to help him as much as I could.” Continue reading

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