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Rosa's story

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Brown bear Rosa was given to the owner of a petrol station by a zoo in Ukraine. Forced to live in a small cage no bigger than 4 x 4 metres for five years, next to a roadside gas station, Rosa’s only activity was being made to perform for passers-by within her tiny cage.


Rosa survived on a very poor diet, often given sugar and coffee to drink, while vodka was used to keep her docile and disorientated. Permanently trapped in a tiny, dirty cage with barely any room to move, Rosa's feet were bloody and sore – open wounds rubbed raw by filthy concrete.

Video on the ‘Bears of Ukraine’

© FOUR PAWS | Mihai Vasile

Rosa’s Rescue

After two days of careful negotiations with her owner, FOUR PAWS rescued Rosa from her torment. Rosa was transported by FOUR PAWS to the state-owned Bear Rehabilitation Centre at the National Nature Park Synevyr in Ukraine.

 “Rosa will now have a life suitable to her species in an environment as close as possible to her natural habitat” said FOUR PAWS vet Dr Khalil.

Since her rescue, Rosa has gained weight and behaves as a bear should. 

But our work is not over...

Rosa is just one of many bears who need help


“Rosa represents hope for the brown bears of the Ukraine.”

Bears are the largest land-based-carnivores on earth – solitary animals who roam around huge areas in the wild. Sadly, many bears are currently trapped in captivity, living in small cages next to restaurants, hotels or petrol stations as a form of ‘entertainment’.

Undernourished and ill, many of them must perform tricks to entertain tourists and are abused and forced to consume alcohol.

Physical impacts - 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. The sourcing and trade of bears is also a major animal welfare concern with the vast majority of bears illegally captured as cubs from the wild after their mother has been slaughtered.


Bear baiting - In bear baiting, hounds are set on a tethered animal to train their hunting skills. The bears are chained, often malnourished or starving so they are weak, and sometimes all claws are removed so they cannot seriously injure the dogs.


Our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr was officially opened for visitors in October 2017. There are currently nine bears at the sanctuary, who were all rescued from catastrophic keeping conditions and now call the 7.7-hectare sanctuary their home. In the coming years, the BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr will continue to expand and, after completion of all construction work, will cover an area of 20 hectares that will accommodate up to 30 rescued bears.


With the establishment of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, FOUR PAWS created a species-appropriate home for rescued bears.

Learn more about our sanctuary and recent Ukraine bear rescues here >>>

What can you do?

Thanks to the support of people like you, Rosa has been saved. But sadly, there are still many more bears like her. Beaten, horribly injured, and cruelly humiliated – many are force-fed beer and vodka to sedate them. No bear should be condemned to a life like this. 

Please donate so we can rescue more bears like Rosa from suffering.

Rosa since her rescue