Ukraine: FOUR PAWS' new bear sanctuary for baiting bears
FOUR PAWS to build new bear sanctuary for former baiting bears
We are cooperating with the Ukrainian authorities to end bear baiting.
Although bear baiting has been banned in Ukraine for almost 15 years, dozens of bears are still used and abused for training hunting dogs. The construction of a FOUR PAWS BEAR SANCTUARY, near the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, at last aims to offer hope to these brutally mistreated animals, who can now be rescued and given a home that suits the natural needs of their species. The conflict in the country has caused a series of delays to negotiations over the construction, but now a suitable location has been found. The Environment Ministry and the local forestry board will make a plot of approximately 12 hectares available near the city of Lviv.
FOUR PAWS wants to bring an end to the illegal practice of bear baiting
In a joint press conference, representatives of FOUR PAWS, the Ukrainian Environment Ministry, and the local council of Yavoriv, presented their plans for the new sanctuary. FOUR PAWS wants to work with the Ukrainian government to dismantle this so-called “tradition”. We have also set its sights on two further goals: the construction of the BEAR SANCTUARY near Lviv, and improved enforcement of existing laws.
Brown bears are a protected species in Ukraine, and may not be kept or bred without a licence. The hunting of bears is also forbidden. But the bears’ situation can only be improved in the long term if the government puts stricter controls in place, together with larger fines and stronger punishments for those participating in the illegal trade and the abuse of bears for profit.
FOUR PAWS estimates there to be between 15 and 20 baiting bears in Ukraine currently. The bears live miserable lives in tiny cages with nothing but a concrete floor beneath them, and they are only released from these cages for training, or to be attacked by hunting dogs in competition. They are usually given insufficient food and water, to make them weaker opponents for the dogs. Most also have their claws removed.
The extreme psychological stress and the many injuries caused by the dogs and the poor keeping conditions mean that most of the bears can only be used for a short time for baiting. They are then often sold to zoos or restaurants as tourist attractions. Some even end up stuffed, as trophies.
The bears are used and abused as training objects for hunting dogs
FOUR PAWS has been active in Ukraine since 2012
The animal welfare organisation works there to improve keeping conditions for bears, and has also implemented several stray animal projects. To date, FOUR PAWS has been able to rescue three bears from illegal private keeping, and transfer them to BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya in Zhytomyr. In future, the organisation will also cooperate with the government to fight more strongly against the illegal private keeping of bears in Ukraine.