June 28, 2018 – Years of living in a small, 4 square meter cage have left their marks on the eight-year-old brown bear named Kvitka. She is underweight, malnourished and her teeth are in terrible shape from gnawing at the bars of her enclosure.
A team from FOUR PAWS travelled to Terebovlya to rescue Kvitka from a Ukrainian hunting station yesterday, June 27th, after months of negotiations with the manager of the station. Kvitka was brought from to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, about 180 kilometres away near Lviv, a project also run by FOUR PAWS International.
Bear Kvitka was examined on site and her health is generally stable but an examination of her teeth found devastating problems. The dire condition of her teeth is due to poor nutrition and from biting the metal bars.
“She also had a complicated fracture on one of her teeth, which was festering and had to be treated at once. This is why we operated immediately after the rescue.”
Veterinarian Marc Gölkel from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, who was involved in the rescue
The surgery went well and the team of veterinarians and animal caretakers will continue caring for Kvitka so she can adjust in her new home. Once she has recovered from the operation, Kvitka will be able to move into her adaption enclosure.
Prior to her rescue, the eight-year-old brown bear was regularly abused for the training of hounds. She was only allowed to leave her small cage to fight dogs in so-called “bear baiting.”
"In bear baiting, hounds are set on a tethered animal, often bears, to train their hunting skills. The bears are chained, often malnourished, and sometimes all claws are removed so they cannot seriously injure the dogs. They can hardly fight back. For years we have been fighting for a ban of this cruel practice. Kvitka’s ordeal has finally come to an end and she will lead a peaceful life in our species-appropriate BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.”
Carsten Hertwig, FOUR PAWS bear expert and part of the rescue team
From years of campaigning by FOUR PAWS, bear baiting in Ukraine has been prohibited by law since 2015. Although the law prohibits this cruel practice, it does not forbid the general keeping of bears on hunting stations. Brown bears are still kept and illegally used for baiting. FOUR PAWS calls for a tightening of the existing law to ensure that in the future, the keeping of brown bears on hunting stations, in restaurants or hotels is forbidden and that no bears in Ukraine are exposed to such suffering anymore. Recently FOUR PAWS handed over 100,000 signatures to the Ukrainian government from a petition seeking to prohibit bear keeping on hunting stations.
BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr was officially opened for visitors in October 2017. Including the newcomer Kvitka, there are currently eight bears at the sanctuary. They were all rescued from catastrophic keeping conditions and now call the 7.7-hectare sanctuary their home. In the coming years, the bear sanctuary will continue to expand and, after completion of all construction work, will cover an area of 20 hectares that will accommodate up to 30 long-suffering bears. With the establishment of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, FOUR PAWS created a species-appropriate home for rescued bears, thus supporting the Ukrainian government in enforcing the prohibition of baiting bears in the country.
Bear Kvitka was rescued from a Ukrainian hunting station in Terebovlya on June 27th and brought to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr
She was abused for bear baiting, where the bears are used to train hounds
Due to bad nutrition and biting the metal bars on her cage her teeth are in very bad condition
She had a complicated fracture on one of her teeth, which was festering and had to be treated at once, the surgery was performed on June 28th
Generally her health is stable
Once she has recovered from the operation, Kvitka will be able to move into her adaption enclosure
Bear baiting is forbidden by law in Ukraine, however, the keeping of bears is not, therefore bears are still being held on hunting farms and abused illegally for baiting
Recently FOUR PAWS handed over 100,000 signatures to the Ukrainian government from a petition seeking to prohibit bear keeping on hunting stations
Including Kvitka, eight bears now call BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr their home