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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Thomas the Bear


A few weeks ago, we set off on a mission to rescue a bear from the side of a busy road in the most miserable of conditions. As our team sped along the dual carriageway among the heavy traffic, it was impossible to believe that there could actually be a bear close by…but suddenly there he was, just a few feet off the road, behind a tall grey wall, in some sort of builder’s yard, among a collection of derelict buildings. 

The minute our team got out of the car they were hit by the terrible smell. It wasn’t hard to find where it was coming from – the floor of the cage was covered in a thick layer of urine and faeces. In the scorching heat, the stench was almost overpowering. It must have been torture for that poor bear to be trapped in all that filth, with nowhere clean and dry to lie down and rest his aching body.

He had no choice but to sleep on all that green stinking sludge. As we got closer it was clear to see that his fur was matted with urine and faeces and covered in ticks. Surrounding the cage was what can only be described as a moat of sewage. The poor bear was stranded in the middle of all this muck and we we're told he had been locked in that hell-hole for five long years!

Please help mend this broken bear.

That helpless creature had been left on the side of the road, alone among the derelict buildings in that deserted yard. No one cared for him. Indeed, when his owner arrived to meet us, he seemed only too eager to hand the bear over and be rid of him for good. He hadn’t even given him a name. So we decided to call him Thomas.

Right now, Thomas needs round-the-clock care and plenty of nutritious food to build up his strength and improve his health. Please, if you can, consider donating today and help us care for.

The vets on the rescue wondered how often Thomas was fed - a pile of stale bread nearby suggested that this was his staple diet. No wonder he looked so thin and frail! We were told he was about ten years old but he looked much older. Our team suspects he had been kept in a cage all his life and had been passed on from one person to another when the novelty of owning him wore off. 

The skin beneath his matted fur was dry and cracked and his paws were spongy from all the years standing on the urine-soaked floor. The poor bear was a picture of misery and neglect. His teeth and gums were in a terrible state. This was no surprise, since he had suffered years of malnourishment and had spent hours each day gnawing on the bars of his cage in a desperate attempt to break free. At some point in the future, Thomas will need extensive dental surgery to repair his broken teeth and heal his swollen gums. Please donate today towards Thomas' dental care.

A note from Lucy, a member of IAR's rescue team

The moment I saw Thomas my heart broke.

It seemed so unfair. How could this majestic bear have endured so many years of torment? How could someone have looked him in the eye and then turned their back, day after day? When we arrived at the empty building site to rescue Thomas, his head hung low in his cage. He didn’t have any of the characteristics of a young male bear. He should have been bold, brave and fearless, but instead he was timid , nervous and pacing. Thomas would glance every now and then in our direction, meeting our gaze with a glint of desperation in his eyes.

But my sadness soon turned to relief, because I knew Thomas would now be safe, he would ne ver have to experience that desperation again. No one would turn their back on him. We were there to rescue Thomas from his hell and shower him with love. Thomas is now free from his prison, but as we left on that fateful day I peered from the truck and stared back at the empty cage. I couldn’t help but think of all the other imprisoned bears across Armenia. More bears like Thomas, waiting patiently right now, holding out in hope for that moment to be rescued, for that moment when someone does not turn their back.

Please give what you can to help us care for Thomas.


could pay for the round the clock care and plenty of nutritious food Thomas needs


could help pay for the dental treatment Thomas will need after years of gnawing on his cage


could pay towards the rescue of one of 50 more caged bears like Thomas


could help pay for soft bedding to soothe their aches and pains


could help us provide enrichment activites to keep the bears stimulated and active


could help us pay the staff who attend every rescue

If you have any problems making a donation, or any queries about your donation and our projects, please email us at [email protected]

​In the event that we are successful in achieving our target for a specific appeal or rescue project, any excess funds from your kind donation will be used by International Animal Rescue to help other animals in similar need.