Thanks to compassionate animal lovers in Ukraine, a bear cub has been rescued from the cage where she was being kept for the entertainment of Euro 2012 visitors. Nastia was ripped from her mother’s side when she was only four months old, far too young to be separated – though there is never a right age for such cruelty.
Nastia was snatched from her frantic mother, crammed into a tiny box and sold to animal traders. Watch the original video, and you can see how frantic Nastia and her mother were. The zoo keepers and animal traders showed no sympathy for the desperate pair.
As soon as they heard the news of Nastia’s sale (illegal in the Ukraine), Care2 readers swung into action with a petition to free the captive cub. Another petition calls for donations to Vier Pfoten Schweiz (Swiss chapter of the international animal welfare organization, FOUR PAWS) to arrange for transport, veterinary care, and accommodation for both Nastia and her mother. Bettina Lorenz, who posted the petition, quoted the email she received from Vier Pfoten Schweiz:
Bone-breaking screams echo through the zoo in Lutsk/Ukraine, as the first four months old, rescued bear cub and his desperate mother taken away in a much too small crate is. The fate of the little Nastia seems sealed – it was sold to inspire as a photo model tourists.
With the support of Ukrainian authorities, FOUR PAWS found and rescued Nastia. Although she was dehydrated and malnourished, suffering from diarrhea, and had lesions on her mouth, the cub will likely recover.
FOUR PAWS’ Ukrainian project leader, Dr. Amir Khalil, was quoted in the Daily Mail:
I was horrified to see the cruel treatment of Nastia and I am relieved that we could rescue her. But there is still so much work for us to do.
A baby bear in the wild usually spends two years with its mother. Taking it away so young would leave the tiny bear traumatised.
In addition being used as a tourist attraction represents a lifetime in torment for the baby bear.
In the video below you can see the concern and compassion on the faces of Nastia’s rescuers. The story does not end here. Nastia’s body and spirit need healing time. She and her mother are being reintroduced to each other slowly.
The long-range plan is to find a species-appropriate home for the two bears, away from the zoo where they are living now. Nastia’s future would have been dreadful as a captive in a wire cage. Now she has a chance at a happy and healthy life.
Follow the FOUR PAWS blog to keep track of the bears’ progress, and be sure to see the touching photograph of mother and cub watching each other from their separate enclosures. The petition below includes a link to a FOUR PAWS site where donations for Nastia and her mother can be made.
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Photo and video courtesy of FOUR PAWS