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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

The world watches our team rescue Balu the caged bear in Armenia.

Our team has today rescued Balu, a female brown bear of about two and a half years old kept chained up in a cage in Armenia. She is believed to have been kept in her filthy cage since she was caught from the wild as a two month old cub. Balu’s dramatic rescue was streamed live from Armenia on IAR’s Facebook page where followers reacted with horror and anger at the terrible conditions she was being kept in. In spite of the presence of the Armenian police who accompanied our team on the rescue operation, at first the owner could be seen arguing and refusing to let the bear go.

A crowd of onlookers gathered to witness the rescue which was also filmed by local Armenian TV. After a considerable delay and some tense moments while the owner attempted to prevent the rescue from taking place, our vet was finally able to move in and sedate the bear. Some ten minutes later when she was soundly asleep, the rescue team were able to enter the cage and prepare the sleeping bear for her journey to our rescue centre.

Alan Knight OBE, IAR CEO, said: “We learned of the existence of Balu the bear only a few weeks ago and immediately started making plans for her rescue. This poor creature has been fed on a diet of fizzy drinks and sweets.

She is in shocking physical condition, to say nothing of the trauma she has suffered at being kept in a small squalid cage with a heavy collar and chain around her neck. At first her owner insisted that he would only part with her if we paid him but thankfully the presence of the police eventually persuaded him that he had nothing to gain by refusing to hand her over.”

It took six men to carry the sleeping bear to the transport crate, accompanied by a large crowd of excited locals. Once safely installed in the crate, it was lifted into the rescue ambulance and Balu was driven away to the rescue centre. On arrival, she will be kept in a quarantine area while her health is assessed by the veterinary team. She will be kept under close observation and started on a nutritious diet as the first step towards recovery and a new much brighter future.