The world’s loneliest bear kept isolated in a tiny box-like cage for over a decade ever since she was a cub is to finally meet other bears in an Alpine paradise after years of being tortured to make her perform in a travelling circus.
The bear named Jambolina, who is now 11 years old, was rescued by animal rights organisation Four Paws whose staff collected her from her home in Ukraine and have now transported her on a 2,400 km (1,500 miles) journey to The Arosa Bear Land reserve in Switzerland.
Although Four Paws has a rescue centre in Ukraine, it currently has 22 bears which is the maximum capacity and there is no room for any more, so they contacted the Swiss reserve which has space and they agreed to help.
In Ukraine, she had been used as a circus bear, but because of the coronavirus lockdown, public performances by the circus were cancelled, meaning that her owners could no longer afford to keep her.
This provided the opportunity for Four Paws to rescue her, and take her to start a new life in freedom.
Katharina Braun from Four Paws International said: “She was kept alone in a tiny cage and had been since she was a cub. She was not with other bears.”
Taras Boiko, director of Four Paws Ukraine, said it was a complex journey to plan the rescue especially with the current travel restrictions as they had to move the bear on a 2400 km (1500 miles) journey to the new home in the Swiss Aros mountain range.
Now that she has arrived, they are going to see first of all if she wants to hibernate which is something she would previously have been unable to do while in captivity in the cage. They are hoping that this natural instinct will help her to return to her bear roots.
They highlighted the case of two other rescued bears, Amelia and Meimo, who are also at the refuge and this year followed their instincts and went to hibernate in a man-made cave.
Private ownership of bears in Ukraine is possible as long as they are not captured in the wild and are cubs from bears already in captivity. Yet cages can still be as little as 30 square metres and just 3 metres high, and there is little monitoring or indeed punishment for breaches of the regulations.
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Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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