rescued bear Sirko

save the saddest bears in Ukraine

Help us end the horrific cycle of abuse and captivity of brown bears in Ukraine

Since 2012, FOUR PAWS has been advocating for change in the Ukraine where there is a long-standing history of brown bear abuse. We have been working hard to highlight the systematic abuse of brown bears and fighting to change government regulations on the ownership of wild animals.

bear in a cage

The mission to #SavetheSaddestBears in Ukraine

The cruel practice of bear-baiting was legally banned in 2015 thanks to campaigning by FOUR PAWS and local animal rights activists, yet today, bears still linger on hunting stations where they are chained up, their claws often ripped out without anaesthetic, and fears that they may still be abused as bait to help train hunting dogs.

Across the Ukraine, brown bears are also kept by private persons as pets or as attractions for restaurants, hotels, and recreational parks. These bears are kept in inappropriate conditions, without proper food, enrichment, or veterinary care. Most of them spend their lives in small concrete enclosures, denied their basic instincts to roam, hunt, forage and play. The physical and psychological stress these bears endure is evident through their behaviour – pacing, head bobbing, biting on their cage bars, salivating, huffing and vocalisations.

bears in cage

Although the keeping of bears in restaurants, hotels and other facilities was banned in August 2021, a lot still needs to be done before all those bears can be rescued and provided with a species-appropriate life.

We have supported sustainable solutions and legal measures to help bring an end to bear keeping in the Ukraine and have rescued 29 brown bears from captivity, providing them with a species appropriate home at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. 


Rescued bear Tyson

was rescued by FOUR PAWS in October 2017 from a remote hunting station in Western Ukraine, where he was illegally exploited for bear-baiting. Typically, such stations are used to train hunting dogs to attack bears. Read more.


Rescued bear Martha

is our most recent rescue in September 2021 to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. She was saved from a life of captivity at a Ukrainian restaurant where she was used as an attraction for over 13 years. Read more about her rescue.


Rescued bear Potap

started his life as a circus bear and was later sold to restaurant owners who kept him as an attraction for the next 9 years. He was the first bear rescued and rehomed to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr in October 2017. Read more.


Rescued bear Kristina

is the oldest resident at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. Born in 1996, she was rescued in 2017 from a horrifying life as a circus and dancing bear where she was kept in small, dark, wet and cold enclosures.

Sirko & Ruta

Rescued bears Sirko & Ruta

were rescued by FOUR PAWS in June 2021 from private keeping at a hotel restaurant in Ukraine, where they were kept for years in a small concrete enclosure and used as a tourist attraction. Read more.

Jenny, Toby & Moris

Rescued bear cubs Jenny, Toby & Moris

were previously kept in a contact zoo where they were forcibly pet, held, and photographed. FOUR PAWS rescued the cubs in July 2021 where they now live a carefree life. Read more.

With your help, our mission to #SavetheSaddestBears has been one of our most successful campaigns to date. This is a huge achievement, but we still have a lot of work to do. We have a plan, but we need your help make it happen. 

Bear cub

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and help us rescue more bears from a lifetime of abuse? 

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