Brown bear Mascha at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz

Bear Mascha

Brown bear with almost black fur


A life behind metal bars

Mascha was born in 1994. Even though she and Otto (†) aren't related, they shared the same story. Before being brought to our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz, they lived in private holding in East Germany. For many years, their world consisted of a sad enclosure of 150 square meters, surrounded by metal bars, and a concrete floor. 

Luckily, we managed to convince the owners to let Mascha and Otto move to our rescue center. The former owners also promised to never own another bear again. In 2006, the two bears then finally arrived at our sanctuary. Unfortunately, Masha's long-time partner Otto passed away in August 2022. Until then, they shared one big enclosure with lakes, forest, grassland and many other things to discover.

The animal caretakes observed changes in her behaviour after the death of her partner. Masha was deeply affected by the sudden loss and displayed stressed and lethargic behavior. Over time, she slowly found her way back to her slow, relaxed self, which deeply touched the whole team and made us think she took some time to grieve before moving on and continuing to roam her forest.

Mascha is roaming through the woods

Mascha is roaming in the undergrowth.

Mascha like "Mascha and the bear"

Mascha's favourite things to do are going for a swim and exploring the forest. When Otto was still alive, we could observe her playing with him in the water, especially during mating season. She can be a little dominant and became quite possessive over "her" Otto, when other female bears where in the surrounding enclosures. 

From all our bears, Mascha sure has the darkest fur. She got her name here at our sanctuary. The readers from the daily newspaper "Nordkurier" chose it in a name contest. The name Mascha refers to the old russian farytale "Mascha and the bear".

Facts about Mascha

  • I come from: private keeping in East Germany
  • I am: the bear with the darkest fur
  • What the animal caretakers say about me: 
    Mascha is very self-confident and can be quite dominant. She didn't like it when Otto was "flirting" with other female bears through the fences.
  • Fun story about Mascha: 
    Masha seems to enjoy a good sleep-in, which has even won her a prize. "March Napness" is a fun competition between the various bear sanctuaries to determine the bear that hibernates the longest. Our Mascha won the first March Nappness 22/23 after a tight race and only decided to leave her tube at the beginning of May. Of course, as the winner, she got a big reward, which she clearly enjoyed!

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