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Originally published Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 8:09 AM

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2 brown bears rescued from captivity in Kosovo

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.

The Associated Press

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MRAMOR, Kosovo —

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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