AFP, published on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 4:41 p.m.
Kiriusha, a 24-year-old former circus brown bear who lived in devastating conditions in Ukraine before being abandoned by his owner who left to fight, found refuge in the Netherlands thanks to a foundation and a zoo.
“Last weekend, the Bears in Mind Foundation collected a brown bear from Ukraine who had been living in appalling conditions for 18 years,” Rhenen Zoo in the central Netherlands said in a statement.
“The situation of the bear had deteriorated so much during the war that the foundation did everything to evacuate the bear from the war zone as quickly as possible”, a perilous operation, continued the zoo, where the animal arrived on Sunday.
Kiriusha had been living in a tiny cage in a hotel complex for years, according to the Dutch zoo. The conflict in Ukraine aggravated the situation when its owner went into battle.
“Now that the war continues, the owners are no longer able to take care of the animal,” said Ingrid Vermeulen, director of the Bears in Mind foundation, which works for the welfare of bears.
“Food is becoming scarce and we are seeing these types of animals now routinely being left behind due to the looming threat of war,” Vermeulen added, quoted in the statement.
Kiriusha was a circus bear for the first 6 years of her life, before being placed in a hotel with a children’s camp, where she lived in a cage, on a concrete floor “with barely room to move “, according to the Ouwehands Dierenpark zoo in Rhenen.
After observing a period of quarantine, the animal will live with other bears that have been mistreated, in a forest managed by the foundation and the zoo.
Like other European countries, such as Belgium and Spain, the Netherlands has already taken in traumatized and undernourished Ukrainian felines.