Your support helps save Bears from restaurant in Sochi, Russia 

11 March 2015, World Animal Protection

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The two bears have been removed from horrific conditions at a restaurant after over 130,000 people sign our petition.

Just over a week ago, we asked you to help us save the so-called Sochi bears who have spent their lives in squalid conditions in a restaurant in the Russian city.

The two 20-year old bears, who have been in captivity since the time they were cubs, were seized by officials in Sochi over the weekend. We understand they have been moved temporarily to an animal shelter in Moscow, which has other bears in its care.

We welcome the news that the bears have been removed from the restaurant and are optimistic that further developments will ensure that a happy life is just in reach.
 

What next for the Sochi Bears?

Over 130,000 people signed a petition instigated by us and Big Hearts Foundation calling on the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources to seize the bears and take up the offer of a home for them at the AMP Bear Sanctuary in Romania.

We also offered to organise the rescue of the bears and to move them from Russia to the Bear Sanctuary in Romania which is managed by our partner organisation the Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP).

Ruud Tombrock, World Animal Protection Regional Director, Europe said: 

“We are delighted that this petition has resulted in action being taken to remove the bears from the terrible conditions in which they were being held. So many people around the world have been moved by their plight that it was clearly impossible to ignore any longer.

“Our offer to move the bears to the AMP Bear Sanctuary is still open – that offer was made to the Ministry of Natural Resources via the petition, and to the Krasnodar Court which is still looking into the issue. We shall also be contacting the animal sanctuary in Moscow with the same offer.

“The speed with which the authorities have acted in the wake of these tens of thousands of signatures means we should be cautiously optimistic about their chances of a better future. These are elderly bears who have never known freedom and now it seems they at least have the chance of a better life.”

The bears will at least, for the moment, be provided with a more suitable and nourishing diet than that of their staple beer and junk food at the Sochi restaurant.

Anna Kogan, from the Big Hearts Foundation said: 

“Over the weekend we had managed to convince the bears’ ex-owner to hand them over to us to be relocated to the AMP sanctuary in Romania without waiting for court decision. This sudden evacuation of the bears to Moscow was a surprise, and I would have preferred for them to have ended up in a more natural environment. Hopefully we can get the Moscow shelter to agree.”

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