Bear Martha

Aug 2021


Rescue Martha

The Ukrainian circus and restaurant bear finally gets her freedom


Martha’s story is like many other bears who have suffered just like her in Ukraine. She never knew a natural life in the wild where she could forage in the forest for berries, or swim in rivers on those summer days or spend the bitterly cold Ukrainian winter in a natural hibernation. Instead, Martha was born into a life of endless exploitation.

When she was a young bear, Martha was forced to perform within a circus until she was confiscated and sold on by the authorities in 2008. For the next 13 years, she lived alone in a 15m2 concrete enclosure outside of a restaurant in the village Dobrivlyany in Ukraine. For those long years, an old tire, a piece of wood in a small puddle of green, dirty water were all that Martha had to occupy herself.

This was no suitable or happy place for a wild animal to live, and with her owner's declining health, he voluntarily surrendered her to us so she can live a new life at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.

She was desperate to get out of her cage

Now 17-year-old, the female brown bear was able to be rescued and brought to our sanctuary in Ukraine. The rescue team arrived on-site in the early morning of the 30th Aug 2021, they performed a short vet check on her to get her ready for the 90 km journey to her new home began. 

Once she arrived at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, to get used to her new surroundings, we gave Martha some time in her indoor box, and after a few days was released into her species-appropriate and green outdoor enclosure. Although everything is new to her, she was brave enough to immediately explore her new surroundings and the enrichment made by our caretakers! 

We will examine Martha more thoroughly at our sanctuary clinic after she settled in, to determine her best future care.

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Martha exploring

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In her new life at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr

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