For 10 years, brown bears Misha and Dasha were stuck in a tiny cage in a restaurant in Armenia.
The two bears served as tourist attractions for the people eating at the restaurant. The mates spent their days pacing back and forth in their cage, and they would often bang their head against the cage or climb the bars to try and relieve their boredom.
The cage was located right on a riverbank, and their cage often flooded. Once, the water rose so high the poor bears almost drowned.
“A few years back, the river flooded and the bears almost drowned,” Lis Key, PR and communications manager for International Animal Rescue, told The Dodo. “As you can see from the rescue photos, the rescue team had to cut through the cages to release them, so they must have been trapped when the river flooded and in serious danger of drowning.”
For years, International Animal Rescue (IAR) tried to save these two bears. Finally, in November 2017, IAR and the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) were able to convince the restaurant owners to release the bears to their care.
IAR’s rescue team cut through the metal cage’s bars and freed the two bears. They sedated the bears and brought them to their mountainside sanctuary, a place where they would finally have the freedom to roam and follow their natural instincts.
Soon after arriving at the sanctuary, Misha and Dasha went into a cave to hibernate for winter. And when they emerged in spring 2018, they weren’t alone.
Dasha had given birth to two happy and healthy cubs.
Dasha’s rescuers hadn’t even known she was pregnant when she went to hibernate, and so they were shocked and elated. Dasha had been through so much, and now, she finally had a family of her own.
“She received all necessary care after being rescued, enough fruits, veggies, nuts and honey to gain weight and fat before hibernation … but nobody guessed her good appetite was a result of pregnancy,” Vicky Mkrtchyan, environmental projects coordinator for FPWC, told The Dodo.
The cubs are now two months old, and they’re doing great! Dasha is a wonderful mom who always keeps a careful eye on her two young cubs.
“It was already uplifting to see Dasha freed from the barren cage by the river and start to take an interest in life and in her surroundings,” Mkrtchyan said. “Now, seeing her with her two little cubs is simply beautiful. It is so moving to reflect on her miserable life behind bars and then look at her now — a natural mother caring for her cubs, protecting them fiercely from the outside world.”
Dasha and Misha went through so much, but now, they’re finally in a safe place where they can enjoy their lives and their freedom. We’re so happy that this little family is doing so well!
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Source: The Dodo