We don't know if dogs still haunt Kvitka's dreams. For years, barking dogs were part of brown bear Kvitka's life. Her tiny cage was located very close to the dog kennels. She was constantly reminded of the endless hours in which the dogs relentlessly attacking her until she was totally exhausted. Constantly having to hear her tormentors must have kept the bear in a state of constant fear.
It took two years to achieve a happy ending for Kvitka. FOUR PAWS kept on tenacioulsy until the owner agreed to let the bear go. Then things had to happen fast, as we were afraid that the owner might change his mind.
On 27 June 2018, Kvitka was finally transferred from the hunting station in Terebovlya to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr near Lviv. This is where Kvitka started a new life: for the first time, she can move around, climb and bathe in a near-natural environment.
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For some time after her rescue, we witnessed how much she must have suffered at the Ukrainian hunting station. When she arrived at Domazhyr, the bear was thin and emaciated and skinny. While Kvitka feels very comfortable in her new environment, nobody knows how quickly her mental wounds will heal.
"We were overwhelmed to see how brave and curious she was from the moment she explored her new home!"
Magdalena Scherk-Trettin, member of the FOUR PAWS rescue team
After the rescue
Unfortunately, the brief examination before Kvitka's transport clearly revealed the bear's bad health condition. She barely had any muscle mass as a result of malnourishment and having to live in a tiny cage of four square metres with barely any space to move.
But what struck veterinarian Marc Gölkel of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin the most, was the condition of her teeth. Years of biting on the cage bars and a poor diet had left clear marks. A tooth was split all the way down to the nerve, and a purulent inflammation had formed – the pain Kvitka had to endure is hard to imagine.
After her arrival in Domazhyr, our vet Marc Gölkel immediately performed an emergency operation and pulled her tooth. Thankfully, she coped with the procedure better than expected. Under the constant care of our team, recovery progressed so well that she could be released into the enclosure already the next day.
Now, Kvitka can finally act out her natural instincts . Kvitka means 'flower', and how fitting that is when we see her playing on the meadow where she is able to flourish – far way from the horrors of the barking dogs.
FOUR PAWS BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr
FOUR PAWS has constructed a bear sanctuary near the Ukrainian city of Lviv. BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr currently covers 7.7 hectares and provides a species-appropriate home to bears rescued from deplorable keeping conditions. Over the next few years, the sanctuary will be extended to cover twenty hectares, with space for thirty long-suffering bears. By constructing BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, FOUR PAWS has created a sustainable home for rescued bears, and is thus assisting the Ukrainian government in its efforts to implement the ban on keeping bears for bear-baiting.