Zoos have been controversial for quite a long time. While they serve to protect and educate, many have been accused of mistreating the animals in various ways. The extent of this mistreatment entirely depends on the zoo in question, and many do a great job of simulating the original habitat of the animals. But in other countries, there are far fewer laws about how to treat animals.
Two brown bears named Misha and Dasha were captured over 10 years ago by the owners of an Armenian restaurant. In the wild, these bears were free to roam, play and eat all they wanted.
The restaurant owners clearly didn’t consider the lifestyle of the bears whatsoever, and they put them in a wet, dingy cage for 10 years.
They were a tourist attraction, something to draw more customers into the restaurant. This meant that the bears were stuck in the cage, surrounded by people trying to get their attention for all hours of the day.
The cage is located right on the edge of a riverbank, which proved to be a problem when the river suddenly flooded a few years ago.
“A few years back, the river flooded and the bears almost drowned,” said Lis Key of International Animal Rescue in an interview with The Dodo. “As you can see from the rescue photos, the rescue team had to cut through the cages to release them, so they must have been trapped when the river flooded and in serious danger of drowning.”
The group was trying to rescue the bears for several years and they finally succeeded in November 2017. They didn’t break in and steal them like you might expect though – they simply convinced the owner it was the right thing to do.
The rescue team had to use metal saws to cut through the steel cage and finally give these bears the freedom they deserve. The bears were sedated and brought to a sanctuary where they could live, roam and enjoy the remaining years of their lives.
Last winter, they went into hibernation only to come out with two beautiful new baby bears this spring! This was a special surprise because nobody knew that Dasha was pregnant in the first place.
“She received all necessary care after being rescued, enough fruits, veggies, nuts, and honey to gain weight and fat before hibernation,” said Vicky Mkrtchyan, coordinator for the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets. “But nobody guessed that her good appetite was a result of pregnancy.”
Dasha and her cubs are doing well, along with their dad Misha. It hasn’t been very long but the bears are already recovering and much happier than they ever could have been in that terrible restaurant.
Sadly this is far more common than we realize in America, and there are many more animals to save. Organizations like this do amazing work to help the animals in need across the world, and they can always use more support – whether it be financial or volunteer hours.
We can all do something to help out the animals in need of protection in our local communities, What do you do to help preserve your local flora and fauna?