Two brown bears have been rescued by tireless animal welfare workers after they were discovered a year ago at an Armenian bus depot, living in their own filth in a small cage.
The bears, lovingly called Max and Minnie by their rescuers, were found distressed and highly neglected in exceedingly poor conditions. The female bear had given birth to a cub in the squalid cage that barely left her any room, being mostly filled by the hefty 500kg male Siberian brown bear.
The rescuers initial attempts to free the bears were met with resistance from the captive animals’ owner. Months passed and activists remained unflagging in their efforts to rescue the bears and finally succeeded in saving the creatures three weeks ago.
In what was the rescue team’s most challenging mission so far, the group sedated the animals and began preparations to transport the bears to a rescue facility. Max, being the biggest bear the rescue team has rescued so far, had to be transported in a horse trailer since he would not fit in a transport crate.
International Animal Rescue CEO Alan Knight said: “This has been an extremely emotional day for everyone. The two bears were being kept in shocking conditions and we were all desperate to set them free.
“We knew the rescue would be a particularly challenging one because of the size of the male bear. He is by far the biggest bear we have rescued to date. So there was great euphoria among the team when the bears were safely installed in their new quarters.”
The rescue group will give the creatures constant care and attention as they adjust to their new surroundings and begin a new life.
The rescue of Max and Minnie is part of the Great Bear Rescue campaign that was launched by the International Animal Rescue and the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets in the beginning of this year. The groups have rescued 21 bears so far.