According to our database, all the improper bear keepings in Ukraine can be divided into several different categories:
- Hunting stations. Although bear baiting is officially prohibited, it is still sometimes practiced illegally. Such cases are the most complicated, as the keeping of bears is done covertly. After the rescue, our animal caretakers have to deal both with physical and mental traumas of baiting bears. Our bears Mashutka, Tyson, and Kvitka were relocated to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr from hunting stations.
- Private zoos. Bears are often kept in Ukraine by private individuals who have no expertise in proper keeping conditions and are thus unable to provide the bears with a species-appropriate environment. Such animals have to suffer in tiny cages without the possibility to exhibit their natural behaviour. Due to the lack of governmental control, cruelty towards animals can also happen in such keepings. Laska came to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr from such a private zoo. Luckily, she was confiscated along with other wild animals and was thus rescued from death. Now, she learns to climb trees and communicates with the bears in her enclosure.
- Circuses. Bears are sometimes still forced to perform in circus arenas. Their entire lives are spent either in training for their performance or in their cages waiting for the next show. Due to inappropriate keeping conditions and the constant travelling from one town to the next, such bears do not hibernate and are often afraid of their trainers. Captive held bears are usually malnourished and have many behavioural pathologies caused by the tiny cages, inappropriate nutrition, and sometimes they are even forced to drink alcohol. In BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, we take care of former circus bears such as Julia, Kristina, and Zoya. Our veterinarians had to work a lot with them to ensure a healthier lifestyle for them. Surgeries, teeth treatments, and veterinary checks were necessary to improve their health as much as possible. Their former life was very difficult, and they need more time to adapt to their new life without constant stress.
- Restaurants and hotels that keep bears as a tourist attraction. In most cases, bears that are used to attract paying customers to either stop for a meal in the restaurant or even to spend the night in the hotel, live in a tiny cage situated in close proximity to the establishment in a noisy and inappropriate environment. Bears are often fed kitchen waste which is harmful for the animal’s health. Manya, Potap, Dasha, and Lelya all came to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr from such keeping conditions. Their rehabilitation includes correct nutrition and a lot of physical activity to encourage their natural behaviours of running in the forest, playing with other bears, and swimming in the pond. They were unable to follow their natural instincts in their previous keeping conditions.