The world’s loneliest bear that spent her entire life in a cage and was forced to perform for a circus has woken up from her first-ever winter sleep in an Alpine paradise that is now her new home.
Jambolina, 12, was rescued by animal rights organisation Four Paws, whose staff collected her from her home in Ukraine and transported her on a 2,400 km (1,500 miles) journey to her new home, The Arosa Bear Land reserve in the Arosa mountain range in Switzerland.
After years of being tortured and forced to perform for the crowds, Jambolina was nervous and scared when she arrived. But after a winter sleep, she seems to have emerged ready to enjoy the Alpine paradise after the winter hibernation.
The 12-year-old bear was extremely cautious at first when she realised there was an open space waiting for her outside the indoor enclosure that she spent the first weeks of her arrival in before going to sleep.
Scientific director of the Arosa Bear Land Dr Hans Schmid said: “We expected this behaviour and it is completely natural. Scepticism is an important survival strategy for animals and humans.”
However, after making a few hesitant steps and sniffing every inch of the outdoor environment, Jambolina headed towards the pond and took a long bath.
The animal keepers described Jambolina as brave and clever and said: “We are not surprised by Jambolina’s behaviour and we are very pleased that she could find her way around the outdoor area after a short time.”
Since the keepers were not familiar with the female bear’s exact past, they said they would closely monitor her future development.
Dr Hans Schmid explained that they are planning to introduce Jambolina to two other bears who were also rescued and are taken care of in the facility.
He said: “When Jambolina gets familiar with the natural terrain after a few weeks, we will first leave her with Meimo and then with Amelia.”
Jambolina’s first steps in the outdoor area were eagerly observed by many visitors and Four Paws authorities.
Four Paws Country Manager in Switzerland Alexandra Mandoki said: “Moments like this give me goosebumps and it’s just incredibly beautiful to see how we can give the bears a new life.”
Jambolina was previously used as a circus bear in the Ukraine but her owners could no longer afford her because the COVID-19 lockdown cancelled all public performances of the circus.
This provided the opportunity for Four Paws to rescue her, and take her to start a new life in freedom in the 28,000-square-metre Swiss natural reserve.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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