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New bear sanctuary for baiting bears



FOUR PAWS to build new bear sanctuary for former baiting bears

Dozens of bears are still used and abused for training hunting dogs in the Ukraine, but FOUR PAWS is cooperating with the authorities to end this practice. The construction of a new FOUR PAWS BEAR SANCTUARY in western Ukraine 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 | Alexander Synytsia

FOUR PAWS wants to bring an end to the illegal practice of bear baiting

FOUR PAWS wants to work with the Ukrainian government to dismantle this so-called “tradition”. We have also set our sights on improvements in the 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 | Mihai Vasile

FOUR PAWS estimates that there are between 15 and 20 baiting bears in Ukraine. 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

Brown bears in Europe