Masha, Bodia and Nastia are enjoying their new life
Formerly forced to suffer a life of abuse, the three bears Bodia, Nastia and Masha, are now able to enjoy their lives at the FOUR PAWS BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya, in Ukraine. The bears love nothing more than spending most of the day in the water or sunbathing. New enrichment tools also provide a lot of fun and added activity for the bears.
Bodia, Nastia and Masha have a lot of new things to explore in their enclosures at the rescue centre. Under the professional guidance of the FOUR PAWS experts Annika Heikamp and Dr. Maryna Shkvyria, new activity features were installed in the enclosures, and so far the bears seem to be enjoying the new enrichment measures a lot. Especially popular among the bears is the log, which is sometimes coated with a bit of honey to encourage the bears to play.
Nastia and Bodia: a similar past
The two young bears, Nastia and Bodia, had been taken away from their mothers too early and sold to illegal traders. The cubs were rescued by FOUR PAWS and brought to BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya. Despite their difficult pasts, both are coming along wonderfully. In April 2014, the youngsters were first brought together in an attempt to stop them living in isolation from their own kind. They get on with each other really well, and both love to bath and climb together.
Former baiting bear Masha recovers well
The keepers at the rescue centre are very happy with the recovery made by the former baiting bear Masha.
The six-year-old was abused as a training object for hunting dogs for years. She was kept in a tiny concrete enclosure on the grounds of a dog training area, which was too small even to sit upright in. Masha was only taken out of her tiny enclosure for fights, when she was chained to a tree until the dogs were released to fight with her.
When Masha arrived at the BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya in September 2013, she was in very bad physical and psychological shape and heavily traumatized. Every time she heard a dog barking, she started to shiver and became extremely nervous. Often, she sat frightened in the corner of her enclosure for hours.
Since then her condition has been improving continuously. In October last year, much to the surprise of the staff at the centre, she started to build her own den in which she spent the whole wintertime. This is quite unusual behaviour for bears that were born and grew up in captivity – and especially for bears that have experienced such a turbulent past.
Masha is also becoming more and more active. Much like the other two bears at the rescue centre, she is bathing and climbing a lot. She has also become very picky regarding her food. Shortly after her arrival, the starved bear ate almost everything; now she is demonstrating a particular taste for fruits, and her favourite are oranges!
Plan to open new sanctuary for ‘baiting bears’
The dog trainer who had kept Masha in these horrendous conditions was recently sentenced to a fine of around 850 UAH – about 72 Euros!
Masha was the first baiting bear in the Ukraine to be freed by an animal welfare organization. FOUR PAWS estimates that there are still between fifteen and twenty ‘baiting bears’ in the Ukraine. We plan to establish an additional new bear sanctuary specifically for these bears. This will be built in cooperation with the French manufacturer of dog and cat food, ROYAL CANIN.
A FOUR PAWS research team including local activists and experts is currently working to establish where these mistreated bears are located.