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Masha, Bodia and Nastia are enjoying their new life

Former baiting bear Masha becomes more and more active

In the FOUR PAWS BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya the once abused bears Bodia, Nastia and Masha enjoy spending most of the day in the water or sunbathing. New enrichment tools also provide a lot of fun and added activity for the bears.

Bodia, Nastia and Masha have a lot of new things to explore in their enclosures at BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya. Under the professional guidance of the FOUR PAWS experts Annika Heikamp and Dr. Maryna Shkvyria, new activity features were installed in the enclosures, and the bears enjoy these enrichment measures very much. The log is especially popular among the bears, which is sometimes coated with a bit of honey to animate the bears to play.

Nastia and Bodia: a similar fate

The two young bears had been taken away from their mothers too early and sold to illegal traders. The cubs were rescued by FOUR PAWS and brought to BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya. Despite their difficult past, both are coming along wonderfully. In April 2014, the youngsters were first brought together in attempt to keep them from having to spend their lives isolated from their own kind. They enjoy being together very much and both love to bath and climb together.

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Former baiting bear Masha recovers well

The keepers in BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya are very happy about Masha´s good recovery.


The six-year-old bear was abused as a training object for hunting dogs for years. She was kept in a tiny concrete enclosure on the grounds of a dog training area, which was too small even to sit upright in. Masha was only taken out of her tiny enclosure for fights, when she was chained to a tree until the dogs were released to fight with her.

When Masha arrived at the BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya  in September 2013, she was in very bad physical and psychological shape and heavily traumatized. Every time she heard a dog barking, she started to shiver and became extremely nervous. Oftentimes she sat frightened in the corner of her enclosure for hours.

Since then her condition has been improving continuously. In October last year, to the surprise of all, she already started to build her own den in which she spent the whole wintertime. This is quite unusual behaviour for bears that were born and grew up in captivity – and especially for bears that share a similar  past.
Meanwhile, Masha is becoming more and more active. Much like the other two bears of the rescue centre, she’s bathing and climbing a lot. She has also become very picky regarding her food.


Shortly after her arrival, the starved bear ate almost everything; now she particularly prefers fruits such as oranges.


New BEAR SANCTUARY in planning

The dog trainer and former keeper of Masha has recently been sentenced to a fine of around 850 UAH (about 72 Euro!)

Masha was the first baiting bear in the Ukraine to be freed by an animal welfare organization. FOUR PAWS estimates that there are still between fifteen and twenty ‘baiting bears’ in the Ukraine. FOUR PAWS will establish a further BEAR SANCTUARY specifically for these bears. The BEAR SANCTUARY will be built in cooperation with the French manufacturer of dog and cat food, ROYAL CANIN.
A FOUR PAWS research team including local activists and experts is currently trying to find out where these mistreated bears are being kept.