#saddestbears Ukraine

Melanka and Leo Have Been Waiting a Long Time to Be Rescued

These bears deserve a brighter future


October 2020 Update

Melanka and Leo are now safe at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr! Read more about their journey here.

September 2020 Update

Good news for Melanka and Leo's rescue!

We’ve been fighting for many months to relocate these two bears as soon as the coronavirus measures allow it and we get the official green light. We are thrilled to report that we have now received final approval to bring Melanka and Leo to their new species-appropriate environment at our bear sanctuary in Ukraine! 

At BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, Leo and Melanka will receive the care and support they so desperately deserve. To achieve this, we continue to need your support. Together we can make a difference and give Leo and Melanka a new, prosperous life.

These two bears currently live on the grounds of a country residence used by the President of Ukraine. Both bears have been confined in this concrete enclosure since they were cubs and have known nothing but monotony and boredom for over 14 years!

 Their food is thrown over the bars in dirty containers. Their excrement is not removed and remains on the ground. Melanka and Leo have no place to retreat for privacy and are not protected from heat, cold, or rain. 

FOUR PAWS has been fighting for a long time to save Melanka and Leo and to enable them to live a species-appropriate life at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. In 2014, the management of these bears made headlines, namely when the then President of Ukraine - Victor Yanukovych - resigned from office and left the country due to public pressure. What remained behind were Melanka and Leo and their offspring, which sadly, have disappeared in the meantime.

Our efforts to help them have so far gone unheard, but now their rescue seems possible. FOUR PAWS has just received the green light from the responsible authorities to rescue the two. In the BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, Melanka and Leo are awaiting a natural forest enclosure where they can learn their natural behaviors step by step.

We are in the process of preparing the rescue of the two and bringing them into our care as soon as possible. Please support us in the rescue of Melanka and Leo.

July 2020 Update

GREAT NEWS: Thanks to your support, more than 9,000 protest emails were sent to the State Management of Affairs in Ukraine. Over 9,000 people asked them to release bears Leo and Melanka from the concrete cage in which they have been imprisoned for 14 years and allow them a species-appropriate life. And the State Management of Affairs listened! They officially wrote FOUR PAWS to inform us that they are thoroughly researching the issue to clarify the legal mechanism needed to bring the bears to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. We hope to get this sorted in the next couple of weeks and will keep you posted of the developments.

June 2020 Update

Although we were contacted by the Presidential Residence who had agreed to start the procedure for the voluntary handover of Leo and Melanka, we are still waiting for the final GO for the rescue of both bears. Therefore, FOUR PAWS has sent another letter to the authority in charge, in which we asked them to confirm their willingness to let us rescue Leo and Melanka as soon as the Coronavirus quarantine measures in Ukraine allow us to do so.

See our letter to the authorities below.


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