Emergency help for the ousted president’s five bears
Over the last few days a FOUR PAWS team has given assistance and improved the situation of five brown bears living in the grounds of the winter residence of Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych. We provided the bears with fresh fruit, vegetables and water.
The bears are kept in conditions that fall far short of what is appropriate for the species, so these had to be improved straight away. A female lives with her three cubs in a very small and dark cage. The male is kept separately. Both cages are full of waste, and the floor has been turned to mush by the heavy rain of the last two weeks.
Residence staff have struggled to look after the bears properly. When our team arrived last Thursday, the bears didn’t even have water to drink. On top of this, the current political turmoil means we can’t know if the situation will remain like this, or whether in the future there will be anyone at all who can look after the bears.
Since the bears are the property of the state, rather than the personal property of the ex-president, FOUR PAWS is now in contact with the director of the presidential residence to offer long-term assistance. The next step would be to improve the construction of the enclosure, and essentially to work towards getting the bears a larger enclosure within the grounds. FOUR PAWS could support this project. Also, the male ought to be castrated. We have found out that the female has already bred several times, with the young being sold.
Trading in bear cubs is illegal in Ukraine. Brown bears are protected by law, and species-inappropriate keeping is banned. However, the political situation is making it difficult to enter into definitive discussions with decision makers. FOUR PAWS will maintain its efforts.