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Bears in Ukraine

In the Ukraine it is not only stray dogs that are suffering. There are about 100 brown bears living in very poor captive conditions across the Ukraine. Most of them are living in small cages next to restaurants, hotels or petrol stations. The bears are undernourished and ill. Many of them have to perform tricks to entertain tourists and are abused and forced to consume alcohol.

Bears are the largest land-based-carnivores on earth – solitary animals who roam around huge areas in the wild. Many bears suffer from disorders, physical deformities and behavioural issues caused by inappropriate long term care. They cannot be released.

Since August 2011 private bear husbandry in Ukraine has been prohibited. The Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mykola Zlochevskiy vowed on 3 August 2011 to free all captive bears in restaurants that are kept for entertainment purposes.


As part of this old tradition captured and tamed bears perform in front of an audience. The Minister said that this was “inhumane and unacceptable today”.

But the Ukrainian authorities are faced with a serious problem: They cannot confiscate bears, because the know-how and the equipment in order to treat and transport the animals is often missing. Furthermore there is not enough suitable sanctuary space for the recued bears in Ukraine.

© FOUR PAWS | Mihai Vasile