Two Bears Kept Caged at a Restaurant Are Finally Free

Just a week after launching a campaign to help save bears in Armenia who are being kept in heartbreaking conditions and used as living attractions, the first two bears have been rescued.

These bears have been poached from the wild and confined to barren enclosures at restaurants, factories and bus depots, among other places, so they can be used to draw tourists and amuse their owners. After being alerted about their plight, International Animal Rescue (IAR) launched The Great Bear Rescue in an effort to shut this cruel industry down, and move those being confined to new sanctuary homes.

This week, they’re celebrating the successful rescue of the first two bears, Dasha, a female, and Misha, a male, who were being kept in a small cage that was half-submerged in water by a riverside restaurant in Yerevan.

According to IAR, the rescue mission was carried out alongside the Federation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), along with the full support of the Armenian government and the cooperation of the restaurant’s owner.

The Armenian Emergency Rescue services stepped in to help free them by cutting the welded bars of the cages that held them.

Once the cages had been opened, vets stepped in to tranquilize the bears and prepare them for transport to their new home.

The bears have since been taken to a sanctuary, where they’ll get time to adjust before being thoroughly assessed.

IAR ultimately hopes to rehabilitate and release any who are good candidates, but has vowed to ensure permanent homes in sanctuaries for any bears who are unable to return to the wild. Construction of a new sanctuary that will provide a home for bears being rescued is already being built in partnership with the FPWC and rescuers hope that Dasha and Misha will be the first of up to as many as 80 bears who will be saved over the coming months

“Some have been living for years in small, barren cages, surviving only on scraps and filthy, stagnant water,” said IAR’s CEO, Alan Knight. “Many of them relieve their boredom and frustration by pacing endlessly to and fro, banging their heads against the walls or climbing up the bars, searching frantically for an escape route.  It is heartbreaking and we are determined to bring it to an end.”

For more on how to help check out International Animal Rescue and its Great Bear Rescue campaign.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W9 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Jennifer H
Jennifer Habout a year ago

Good news. It's a start.

silja salonen
silja sabout a year ago

oh my stars... hope that they will finally be able to roam about

Past Member about a year ago

thank you for this news. those evil scumbags need to be in jail for life. those poor bears. I'm so thankful they're safe now, and happy. I'm thankful for those people that rescued them, and took care of them.

Filomena C
Filomena Cabout a year ago

Good news!

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Bearaabout a year ago

glad they are safe

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Bearaabout a year ago


Kimberly W
Kimberly Wallaceabout a year ago


Leanne K
Leanne Kabout a year ago

Thank goodness! Yay to all involved and those who donate

Muff-Anne Y
Muff-Anne York-Haleyabout a year ago

So Hagar these bears were saved.