Four Paws Rescues One Of “Europe’s Saddest Bears” From Ukrainian Hunting Station

After a traumatic 16 years of being used as bait for hunting dogs in the Ukraine, Tyson, the bear, was rescued last week and relocated to his new home at the Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr.

Animal welfare organization Four Paws International was responsible for the long-awaited transfer of Tyson, dubbed one of “Europe’s saddest bears,” to its new sanctuary for rescued bears near the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Tyson is now one of six bears living in the species-appropriate home that Four Paws is creating in an effort to support the Ukrainian government in enforcing the bear baiting ban that was enacted in 2015.

Sadly though, the law only forbids the cruel “tradition” of bear baiting itself, not the keeping of bears on hunting stations in general. Therefore, bears continue to be privately owned in Ukraine and illegally used for bear baiting.

In bear baiting, dogs are released and attack tethered animals, such as other bears, to practice the dogs’ hunting skills. In a real hunt, the dogs are then supposed to stop a wild animal from running away so the hunter can kill it. The bears used for baiting are barely able to fight back. They are chained, often underfed, and in some cases, all their claws are removed so that they cannot seriously injure the dogs. Bear baiting on hunting stations is occasionally even carried out in the form of competitions

Four Paws, which estimates that there are approximately 20 bears still captive at Ukrainian hunting stations is continuing its call for tightening of the existing law.

“I am surprised and relieved that after 16 years of extremely bad keeping conditions, Tyson is not suffering from any very serious medical conditions. The most severe are his dental abrasion and weak muscles,” noted Dr. Frank Göritz from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) who accompanied the transfer. “He will recover well in Four Paws Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr”.

Over the next few years, the bear sanctuary is planning to expand from 19 to more than 50 acres, with a maximum capacity of 30 bears.

People can donate to Four Paws HERE! 

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