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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Our team rescues a twelfth caged bear living in misery and squalor in Armenia

With the assistance of the emergency rescue services, our team in Armenia has freed another captive brown bear from a miserable life behind bars, bringing the number of bears rescued so far to twelve.  April, formerly named Masha, was found living in a veritable hell-hole in Armenia, barely able to see the outside world through the metal grille above her head.

Once the team learned of April’s miserable existence in a tiny concrete cell behind a restaurant, they immediately drew up a plan to set her free. The first step was for members of the Armenian emergency services to cut through the thick bars of the cage with bolt cutters. There was simply no other way to get her out. April was sedated by a vet and then carried out on a stretcher to a waiting van which transported her to our rescue centre.

April had led an incredibly sad, lonely life. At nine years old, it is quite likely that she had been living in that cage since she was just a small cub. It seemed no one cared about her. Neither the restaurant owners nor their customers showed the slightest interest in her. Occasionally she was thrown enough scraps of food to survive. That was the extent of the care she was given.

Alan Knight OBE, IAR CEO, said: “It baffles me why anyone would keep an animal in such appalling conditions and treat it with such terrible cruelty and neglect. Thankfully April is now safely in our care and, thanks to the emergency services, the rescue team and our partners FPWC, she has the chance of a new and happy life.”

April is currently in quarantine and undergoing a series of medical checks to assess her condition. She is being fed a nutritious diet to improve her health and build up her strength - and she is, at last, being treated with the compassion and respect she deserves.

Knight added: “I’m sure it won’t be long before we see an improvement in her, both physically and mentally. I can’t emphasise enough that we couldn’t rescue and care for animals like April without the help of our many supporters.  We are so grateful to them for enabling us to transform the lives of so many suffering animals.”

The ‘Great Bear Rescue’ campaign launched in October 2017 by IAR and FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets) aims to rescue all the caged bears living in misery and squalor in Armenia. It is estimated that there may be as many as 60 of them still in need of help. In the coming months, IAR and FPWC will be rescuing more desperate bears like April and posting further updates on the campaign as it progresses.