Supporter-named orphan bears return to Russian wild

This year, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) plans to release 12 cubs in 4 regions - Pskov, Tver, Kirov region and the Komi Republic. Our supporters had the opportunity to name a few of these cubs, and here are some of their stories. 

The release of Pippa and Poe

Pippa and Poe arrived at International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Orphan Bear Rescue Center (OBRC) on February 13, 2017. Both cubs were approximately 1 month old and were rescued in the Pskov region of Russia. Their mom had been scared off during logging operations and did not return to the den. Workers then contacted the district hunter who advised them on how to rescue. Two cubs (a male and a female) were then transferred to the OBRC.

The cubs are typically given names that start with the first letter of the region from where they were rescued. We gave the opportunity to our supporters to choose names for the cubs starting with the letter “P.” At the end of the competition, the names “Pippa” and “Poe” were the final winners. The cubs were overall in good condition and started their journey of rehabilitation.

Valentin Sergeevich Pazhetnov, who was previously the lead caretaker of the cubs, developed a rehabilitation process for successfully releasing orphaned bears back into the wild. His son, Sergei, has now taken on the role of primary caretaker and has experienced a great deal of success in rehabilitating bear cubs. A key marker of their development is to clearly show fear of man - one of the most necessary conditions for the survival of bears in the wild. By the end of their rehabilitation, both Pippa and Poe show aversion to humans and reached a weight of about 39 kg, the weight necessary for a successful wintering.

The release of Tadeo

In early October, Tadeo, the bear cub who was rescued following a dog attack has now fully recovered and has been released back to the wild. The young cub had quite a few hurdles to overcome when he first came to IFAW’s Orphan Bear Rescue Center (OBRC).

IFAW’s Orphan Bear Rescue Center

He received stitches for his bite wounds and fluids to stabilize him. The Russian College of Zoological Medicine administered all treatments free of charge. Tadeo was released back to the wild on protected lands in the Selizharovsky district of the Tver region.

IFAW’s Orphan Bear Rescue Center

We wish Pippa, Poe and Tadeo every success as they adapt to local conditions back in the wild.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy