In 2012, FOUR PAWS started working in Ukraine and collecting data on bears being kept in captivity. The reality was appalling – there were dozens of bears in horrible conditions in each region of the country. The animals were kept near hotels, restaurants, used in circuses and – the most terrifying – used as bait to train hunting dogs. Our data already included around 80 bears in improper keeping conditions while the laws favoured hunters and private keepers and the public was not really aware of the situation. We started to work – with activists who lobbied for change in the laws, with animal welfare colleagues who supported the rescue of the bears, as well as with the government by signing the Memorandum on cooperation and consultations for setting up a new sanctuary. In 2013, we opened the first Bear Rescue Centre near Zhytomyr and started cooperation with the Synevyr Rehabilitation centre. At the same time, our first bears were being rescued from hunting stations and tiny cages and were being relocated to more species-appropriate living conditions. Finally, we started to look for a location that would be suitable for a big new sanctuary that could accommodate former baiting bears in the Lviv region. Ground was broken in 2015 marking the ban on the cruel practice of bear baiting, and on 19 May 2016 the construction of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr officially started.
Please find a timeline of our activities and achievements at the website of #saddestbears https://saddestbears.fourpawsusa.org/ukraine-campaign/timeline-activities-and-achievements-ukraine