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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Latest news on the desperate plight of the bears and lions in Gyumri Zoo.

There were such serious concerns for the health of the bears that they have already been moved to Yerevan zoo where WVS vets are assessing and treating them.

Three lions and two bears have been suffering in horrific conditions trapped in an abandoned zoo in Gyumri, Armenia. International Animal Rescue brought their plight to worldwide attention with an article in the Daily Mail newspaper:

IAR is now part of a coalition of international animal welfare organisations investigating all opportunities to alleviate the suffering of these poor animals as swiftly as possible, and has immediately put £5,000 into the fund to help the animals. 

Using the Worldwide Veterinary Service team currently based in Armenia, International Animal Rescue, the Born Free Foundation and others are pooling financial and technical resources and working together to find a rapid solution to move these animals to a place of safety. We are already in talks to secure an enclosure in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, where the animals can be rehabilitated, treated and fed. As it stands, many of them are not microchipped, vaccinated or health screened so it is not currently possible to export them to sanctuaries. Nonetheless, in time, it may be possible to make that happen as well, subject to the health of the animals, permits, and the availability of suitable sanctuary space.

The immediate priority is to move these animals to secure areas where they have some access to shelter and the opportunity to express some element of natural behaviour – things they currently do not have.

The WVS team working in Yerevan with Propaws and the local government to stop dog culling have visited the zoo, examined the animals and are working hard with the local authorities to organise emergency aid. The male bear apparently collapsed a few weeks ago and remains very weak – he will need significant medical support and is in no state to travel a long distance. 

Pooling our expertise, the groups championing the plight of these animals will also seek to push forward animal welfare legislation within Armenia, support the groups engaged in petitioning for this, and try to protect animals kept in conditions such as those in Gyumri Zoo.

Our plan is to find a practical solution for these animals and secure their move as soon as is practicable. We anticipate the main costs will be transport, upgrading the enclosure in Yerevan, ongoing vet work and food for them for at least the next 6-12 months. Working with the WVS vets, ProPaws and the local Government, we are committed to seeing this through and ensuring all our resources get directly to where they need to go. Once the animals are safe and healthy, we can then begin discussions on where they can best be rehomed for suitable lifetime care.

Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive, said: “It’s such a relief that an end is in sight to the suffering of these poor animals. We are incredibly grateful to the public for getting behind this campaign and to the WVS team in Armenia for moving so fast to bring them emergency relief.”

To donate towards this campaign – click here:

Account Name: Armenia Appeal

Bank: Lloyds TSB Honiton Branch

Account Number: 30924068

Sort Code: 30-94-36

IBAN: GB80LOYD30943630924068