Circus bear Benya rescued
A rescue team from FOUR PAWS rescued a brown bear named Benya in Kozyatyn (Ukraine) from a life of misery and brought him to the to the newly established Synevyr bear rehabilitation centre in the Carpathian forests. In Synevyr he will live a happier life with other bears according to the best animal welfare practise.
Brown bear Benya who is ten years old was seperated too early from his mother and was forced to dance and perform tricks with his owner in a Ukrainian travelling circus. His life outside the spotlight was anything but glamorous. He lived in a tiny cage of 2,5 meters by 1,5 meters that didn’t allow him to stand up or to move. A life of torture for a bear.
In a joint rescue mission the FOUR PAWS team and employees of the bear rehabilitation centre Synevyr, took Benya by a mobile bear ambulance to the bear rehabilitation centre established by the Ukrainian government. The journey took 13 hours. Benya coped well with the journey and arrived safely at his new home. In the coming days he will stay in an enclosure beside five other bears. He will be treated and well fed.
Dr. Amir Khalil, project leader at FOUR PAWS said that Benya’s arrival was really moving for all those involved. When Benya entered the cage he came into immediate contact with Ira, another bear rescued, and gave her a friendly greeting. From his enclosure he will soon be able to access a quaranteen area of 350 square meters, where he will play with other bears, and will enjoy climbing and swimming. FOUR PAWS is constructing in the bear rehabilitation centre on an area of 12 hectares several huge enclosures, where Benya and many other rescued bears can soon enjoy a life in a natural environment.
According to information obtained by FOUR PAWS, there are about 100 brown bears living in very poor captive conditions across Ukraine. They are living in small cages next to restaurants, hotels, petrol stations or bars. Most of them have to perform tricks and drink alcohol to entertain tourists. In Ukraine there has been a ban on private bear ownership since August 2011. Together with the Ukrainian authorities FOUR PAWS will continue the fight against the cruel treatment of the bears. On February 2012 FOUR PAWS and the Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Nature signed an agreement for the rescue of and care for the privately owned brown bears. Benya is the fourth bear saved by FOUR PAWS. In the coming months FOUR PAWS will rescue several abused bears and bring them to the rehabilitation centre.
Read more about the rescue from our FOUR PAWS member Nicolas Entrup.
Kozyatyn (Ukraine), 21.05.12
Photo © VIER PFOTEN/Mihai Vasile