On May 4, 2020, the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets, with the support of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia and RA Police rescued three caged bears kept at restaurant facilities since year 2000.
The senior staff at Ashtaraki Dzor restaurant were collaborative and under the new light of COVID -19 pandemics, deprived of visitors, could not afford to feed the three adult bears any longer.
Under the care of specialists at the Rescue Center, the bears will undergo rehabilitation course, medical treatment and veterinary care. The eldest of the bears, 20-year-old female Masha, has serious dental problems; her health status will be checked and verified by further laboratory tests. The other two male bears, according to the keeper, are both 5 years old and were born in captivity. It will be possible to assess their health next week, and a veterinary program for further care and rehabilitation will be developed and put into practice.
According to data from 2015, around 60-80 brown bears were kept in captivity at restaurants and other private premises in the territory of Armenia, whereas as of today, due to rescue operations, more than 30 bears were identified and rescued from deplorable conditions. Nonetheless, at least 18-20 bears still remain caged in private collections, restaurants and resorts. Commonly, tourists alert about caged bears and initiate mass petitions against animal exploitation, such as this one (https://www.change.org/p/surrender-three-caged-bears) that gathered around 100K signatures and was shared by famous singer of Armenian origin, Serj Tankian.
FPWC and IAR are partners that were united with the same mission – to rescue red – listed, wild animals from captivity and give them better lives. This is the cornerstone of their partnership – caring for biodiversity and animals and partners will continue their rescue operations aimed at giving better lives to red listed brown bears in Armenia.