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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

A brown bear our team rescued in Armenia has given birth to healthy cubs after years behind bars.

A rescued bear in Armenia that spent years behind bars on the bank of a river, has given birth to two healthy cubs in the rescue centre where she is undergoing rehabilitation.

Brown bears Dasha and mate Misha were kept in a cramped cage half-submerged in water by a riverside restaurant in Hrazdan Gorge in Yerevan. The bears were used as a tourist attraction and spent their days pacing to and fro in boredom and frustration or climbing up the bars of the cage in a desperate attempt to escape from their iron prison.

Then, after more than ten years in captivity, last November the two bears’ misery came to an end. We joined forces with Armenian group FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife) to mount a rescue mission and cut Dasha and Misha free. The operation was carried out with the support of the Armenian government and the emergency rescue services who cut through the iron bars with an angle grinder.

The two bears were taken to our wildlife rescue centre high in the mountains outside Yerevan. Here they were put in quarantine and given a series of health checks. They were also put on a nutritious diet and vitamin supplements to improve their condition after being fed for years on leftovers from the restaurant and scraps thrown to them by passers-by.

Now, seven months later, Dasha is proud mother to two beautiful cubs. She has been moved into a separate enclosure where she has the peace and quiet to care for her new arrivals and is already proving to be a natural mother.

Alan Knight, our CEO, said: “The vets have confirmed that both mother and babies are fit and healthy, in spite of the stress Dasha must have suffered when she was rescued and the long dark years she spent in captivity.

“I’m delighted that her cubs have been born into such a new, natural environment, rather than starting life behind bars. These two cubs will have everything they need to grow healthy and strong and we hope one day all three will have the chance to return to the wild where they belong.

“Dasha and Misha were the first bears to be rescued after we launched our Great Bear Rescue campaign which aims to rescue up to 80 caged bears in Armenia. The birth of these cubs is such fitting testimony to the success of the project which is ending the misery of bears all across Armenia and giving them the lives and the freedom they deserve.”