Sochi bears are freed from the restaurant cage.
Two old bears who had spent 20 years in a filthy cage outside a restaurant in Sochi, Russia, have now been freed thanks to a 130,000 signature international petition calling on the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources to move the bears from their illegal captivity.
World Animal Protection and Big Heart Foundation urged the authorities to move the bears from the rusted cage, where restaurant visitors had taunted the animals and fed them food scraps and beer. The Milioane de Prieteni group (AMP), who manage the Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania, offered space at their forested sanctuary in the Carpathian Mountains as a retirement home for the bears.
The Russian authorities have now decided to move the bears and have sent them to an animal rescue shelter in Moscow.
The Moscow animal shelter has other bears in its care so the Sochi bears will now have a more relaxed life and a better diet. The AMP are still offering to take the bears to their forest sanctuary and are awaiting a response from the Moscow shelter, as the sanctuary would offer natural forest, pools and a high level of veterinary care.
Thanks again to everyone who supported the petition to free the bears. The international action was successful in persuading the Russian authorities to take action against the illegality of keeping bears in a cage next to a restaurant. This is an important result as animal protection groups have tried to free bears from similar caged conditions in Russia for many years without effect. So there is hope for bears in similar conditions in Russia as a result of the campaign to free the Sochi bears.