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Brown bear family rescued after years of entertaining hotel guests in Ukraine

A brown bear family which was kept in captivity for years in a defunct hotel in Ukraine was rescued and brought to a bear sanctuary by activists from the global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS.

Brown bear couple Sirko, 13, and his partner Ruta, 13, with their 5-month-old cub Andor were freed from an inactive hotel and restaurant in the town of Skole located in western Ukraine and transferred to the Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr near the city of Lviv on 22nd June.

The adult bears were initially purchased by their former owners and locked in a private mini zoo near the hotel to serve as entertainment for guests and to attract more visitors.

A brown bear family which was kept in captivity for years in a defunct hotel in Ukraine was rescued and brought to a bear sanctuary by activists from the global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS

Brown bear couple Sirko, 13, and his partner Ruta, 13, with their 5-month-old cub Andor were freed from an inactive hotel and restaurant in the town of Skole located in western Ukraine and transferred to the Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr near the city of Lviv on 22nd June

The adult bears were initially purchased by their former owners and locked in a private mini zoo near the hotel to serve as entertainment for guests and to attract more visitors

All bears have spent most of their lives in a concrete enclosure, underfed and unable to express their natural behaviour

Their cute cub Andor was hand-raised by the owners after it was born in January 2021, since the private keeping of bears remains legal in the country despite appeals directed towards the Ukrainian authorities to ban private breeding and keeping of bears in cruel conditions.

According to FOUR PAWS all three bears have spent most of their lives in a concrete enclosure, underfed and unable to express their natural behaviour.

Vet Marc Golkel from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research who examined all three bears on-site told Newsflash: 'Sirko and Ruta have dental problems which will be treated once they have adjusted to their new surroundings. Sirko will then also be neutered.'

Their cute cub Andor was hand-raised by the owners after it was born in January 2021, since the private keeping of bears remains legal in the country despite appeals directed towards the Ukrainian authorities to ban private breeding and keeping of bears in cruel conditions

According to FOUR PAWS all three bears have spent most of their lives in a concrete enclosure, underfed and unable to express their natural behaviour

Vet Marc Golkel from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research who examined all three bears on-site told Newsflash: 'Sirko and Ruta have dental problems which will be treated once they have adjusted to their new surroundings

Sirko, Ruta and Andor were rescued from a defunct hotel and restaurant in the town Skole in Ukraine

Regarding the youngest one of the three he added: 'Andor's health seems to be in good condition. We plan to microchip, vaccinate and deworm him after his arrival at the bear sanctuary, so he can grow up to become a healthy bear.'

After they arrive at the FOUR PAWS Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr, Sirko and Ruta will be released into a spacious forest enclosure after they go through an adaptation period.

According to the welfare organisation since Andor was taken away from his mother Ruta at a very young age and the two of them failed to form a mother-son bond it would not be safe to reunite them.

Thus five-month old Andor will move into a separate enclosure with companions of a similar age to socialise with.

After they arrive at the FOUR PAWS Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr, Sirko and Ruta will be released into a spacious forest enclosure after they go through an adaptation period

Andor's (the young bear) health seems to be in good condition. The rescue team plans to microchip, vaccinate and deworm him after his arrival at the bear sanctuary, so he can grow up to become a healthy bear

After they arrive at the FOUR PAWS Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr, Sirko and Ruta will be released into a spacious forest enclosure after they go through an adaptation period

 Activists from animal protection organisation Four PAWS helped to rescue the bears 

According to the welfare organisation since Andor was taken away from his mother Ruta at a very young age and the two of them failed to form a mother-son bond it would not be safe to reunite them

Ukrainian laws allow keeping of bears in public zoos and sanctuaries as well as in private captivity if the owners can prove they have not been caught in the wild but were purchased or rescued instead

Director of FOUR PAWS Ukraine Taras Boiko disagrees with the currents laws and believes that bears need to move around, explore and swim in natural surroundings

Ukrainian laws allow keeping of bears in public zoos and sanctuaries as well as in private captivity if the owners can prove they have not been caught in the wild but were purchased or rescued instead.

However Director of FOUR PAWS Ukraine Taras Boiko disagrees with the currents laws and believes that bears need to move around, explore and swim in natural surroundings.

He said: 'Around 100 bears still live in private captivity in small cages next to restaurants or in private zoos in Ukraine. We urge the responsible Ukrainian authorities to ban the private breeding of wild animals and issue licenses only for official sites like sanctuaries with qualified staff and the required resources.'

Ukrainian laws allow keeping of bears in public zoos and sanctuaries as well as in private captivity if the owners can prove they have not been caught in the wild but were purchased or rescued instead

The whole family, both the adult bears and the young bear, was successfully rescued

Director of FOUR PAWS Ukraine Taras Boiko disagrees with the currents laws and believes that bears need to move around, explore and swim in natural surroundings

They bears have been kept in Ukraine for years

The Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr which spreads at a surface of 7,7 hectares (19 acres) and has so far rescued 25 bears from cruel living conditions was officially opened for visitors in October 2017

The adult bears were initially purchased by their former owners and locked in a private mini zoo near the hotel to serve as entertainment for guests and to attract more visitors

All bears have spent most of their lives in a concrete enclosure, underfed and unable to express their natural behaviour

The bears were brought to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr near the city of Lviv

According to FOUR PAWS all three bears have spent most of their lives in a concrete enclosure, underfed and unable to express their natural behaviour

The director added: 'That would outlaw the keeping and uncontrolled breeding of wild animals by private persons and considerably reduce the number of captive bears suffering in cruel keeping conditions.'

The Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr which spreads at a surface of 7,7 hectares (19 acres) and has so far rescued 25 bears from cruel living conditions was officially opened for visitors in October 2017.

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