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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Five more bears rescued from cages in Armenia

As part of our Great Bear Rescue campaign in Armenia, we recently freed five more bears from their miserable lives behind bars. The animals were part of a private zoo collection discovered during a raid on the home of a retired army General in Echmiadzin.

The first phase of the rescue operation, which saw the removal of a tiger and two bears from their cages, was streamed live on our Facebook page, generating comments of support and thanks from people around the world.

Even at first sight it was clear that the animals were in very poor condition, extremely underweight and with sparse, matted coats. Closer inspection under anaesthetic revealed that one bear in particular, at first thought to be a young cub because of its size, was in fact an adult whose growth had been stunted by years of malnourishment and neglect.

The rescued tiger is under the expert care of the staff at Yerevan zoo. The bears are all safely in our care and being kept in quarantine for 3 weeks while they are tested for contagious diseases. They have behaviour disorders, displaying stereotypical behaviour - moving back and forth repeating the same movements. This is the result of their years in captivity, in tiny cages and on concrete floor.

Alan Knight OBE, IAR CEO, said: “These poor animals led miserable lives behind bars purely for the idle entertainment of their captor and his friends. Thankfully now the tables have been turned and he is behind bars while the animals have been liberated! It will take considerable time for them to recover from the mistreatment and neglect they have endured - and we can’t tell at this stage whether they have suffered lasting physical or mental damage. With the help of FPWC, our partners on the ground in Armenia, we will do all we can to restore them to health and give them the chance to enjoy the lives they deserve, with the freedom to express natural behaviour and live as nature intended.”