For these three brown bear cubs, their start in life was rough. The cubs were born in captivity, before being sold to the Yasnogorodka Contact Zoo in Ukraine. Along with two other cubs, these three babies were used as glorified selfie photo props. Day after day, they had to pose for pictures with visitors and had no chance to do what bear cubs of their age normally do to develop and grow healthy and happy. This is an incredibly cruel life for such an animal, especially during their important early developmental years.
Fortunately for these three cubs, animal activists became aware of the situation at the zoo, and after much criticism from the public, the owner of the zoo was convinced to hand the cubs over to the White Rock Bear Shelter to prevent a wave of bad publicity for the establishment.
In May 2021, all five cubs were moved to the White Rock Bear Shelter in Kyiv; however, due to limited resources and space at the shelter, FOUR PAWS offered to take three of the bear cubs into its care. The three cubs, two males and one female, made an over 350-mile journey across Ukraine to arrive at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. Fortunately, the transport went very well and despite being so young, they all coped very well and remained calm for the trip. The cubs, who were since named Jenny, Toby and Moris, have already made a great impression at the sanctuary. They very quickly adapted to their new enclosure and immediately started enjoying their pool and enrichment!
It was quickly discovered that Jenny is the boss among the three, and she is currently setting the tone and dominating all the games. However, Moris and Toby don't seem to mind at all. Due to their age, the cubs are currently receiving a specific diet appropriate for their growth, and all of them have great appetite, which is a positive step in their development!
Sadly, because the cubs were bred in captivity and became accustomed to humans already at such a young age, it is not possible to rehabilitate them to be released into the wild. However, at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr the bears will live a fulfilled life and never have to be used for entertainment again.
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New beginnings with new friends
Just a few weeks earlier, FOUR PAWS rescued two brown bears, Sirko and Ruta, along with their five-month-old cub Andor in Ukraine. Andor cannot be reunited with his parents, as he was sadly separated and taken away from them at a young age. Thankfully, Jenny has slowly but surely become friends with Andor, so he won't be alone.
They are spending about an hour together in the same enclosure and both are a bit shy. That came as a surprise for the onsite team, as Jenny has been very confident with Moris and Toby. But, as Andor is a new friend, she is a bit reserved with him. The good thing is that the two bears are not aggressive towards each other, and being shy at this stage of socializing is actually quite normal. The onsite team will continue with this routine until Andor becomes more confident, and then introduce him to Moris and Toby too.
Good news! Since the socialization of Jenny and Andor went well, their caretakers decided to introduce all of them. So far, things are going great!
The four cubs Jenny, Toby, Moris and Andor are able to enjoy their large forest enclosure. They have been exploring this new area with great enthusiasm and are unstoppable in their games. Jenny and Toby love to climb the tall trees the most. In general, to swim in their big pool is the best part of the day for all. The onsite team hopes that all the cubs will be able to hibernate this upcoming winter for the first time.
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