Armenia Bear Rescue
Bear Rescue in Armenia
Every year more than 150 wild bears are illegally caught or trapped by poachers in Armenia. Once captured, many of them end up in small, squalid cages in restaurants and other public entertainment venues as a tourist attraction. Some are kept in bus depots, others are hidden from view in dark cellars. Some of the bears are mentally and physically damaged by the boredom and frustration of their miserable existence behind bars.
Shockingly, in some rural restaurants in Armenia, bear meat is even available to those who know to request it.
The bears in Armenia are Syrian Brown Bears (Ursus arctos syriacus), one of the smaller sub-species of brown bear. They are found in the mountainous areas of the country where they forage for fruits, berries and insects in the meadows and forests and hibernate in caves and tree hollows. Their barren prisons are a far cry from their natural home in the forest.
Many bears are being kept captive in miserable conditions across Armenia, including in the capital city of Yerevan. Some have been incarcerated for years in cramped cages with scarcely any food or water. Their environment meets none of their psychological or physical needs. They have very little space to move around in. They are given unsuitable and insufficient food and no environmental enrichment to distract and amuse them. The bears have been deprived of their dignity and their freedom. They lack everything they need to live life as nature intended.
The Great Bear Rescue
In October 2017 International Animal Rescue launched a new campaign to help these suffering bears. The Great Bear Rescue aims to free them from their suffering and, after thorough veterinary checks and assessment, rehabilitate and eventually release those that are physically and mentally equipped to fend for themselves in the wild. Those that are not viable for release will be given a permanent home in sanctuaries where they will be well cared for, well fed and have the freedom to express natural bear behaviour.
The Great Bear Rescue will require funding for the transport of the rescued bears to their temporary new enclosures, as well as for veterinary treatment, food and ongoing, long-term care of those bears that can’t be released. The rescue and rehabilitation operation comes at considerable cost. But it will transform the lives of animals that have spent years behind bars, suffering in silence and waiting for the day when someone would save them.
That day has now come. It is time to give the captive bears of Armenia the life and the freedom they deserve.