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Bears in Ukraine

About 100 brown bears live in very poor conditions

Not only stray dogs are suffering in the Ukraine. Most of the brown bears there are living in small cages next to restaurants, hotels or petrol stations. They are undernourished and ill. Many of them have to perform tricks to entertain tourists and are abused and forced to consume alcohol.

Bears are the largest land-based-carnivores on earth – solitary animals who roam around huge areas in the wild. Many bears in captivity suffer from disorders, physical deformities and behavioural issues caused by inappropriate long term care. They cannot be released back into the wild and will depend on human care for the rest of their lives.

Since August 2011 private bear husbandry in Ukraine has been prohibited. The Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mykola Zlochevskiy vowed on 3 August 2011 to free all captive bears in restaurants that are kept for entertainment purposes.

© FOUR PAWS | Mihai Vasile

As part of this old tradition, captured and tamed bears perform in front of an audience. The Minister said that this is “inhumane and unacceptable today”, but the Ukrainian authorities are faced with a serious problem. They cannot confiscate bears because the know-how and equipment in order to treat and transport the animals is often missing. Furthermore, there is not enough suitable sanctuary space to house rescued bears in the Ukraine. But the government and FOUR PAWS are working together on solutions. FOUR PAWS has negotiated a ban on bear baiting and is now contructing a new sanctuary to give abused bears a safe home.