WATCH: Get up close to cute baby bears with the bottle cam

In total, 16 bears are calling IFAW’s Orphan Bear Rescue Center in Russia home until their release in the fall. Meet these tiny bundles of energy:

  1. Karel

He was the first bear to arrive on February 10. At a little bit more than one month, his eyes and ears were already open and he weighed in around 1.9kg. Karel was from the Republic of Karelia (European North of Russia). He was picked up by a father and his son who were walking in the forest with their dogs. At the time, the little boy was interested by what seemed to him a bird calling and stepped away from the path in the snow to approach the sound. Suddenly he saw a huge bear’s head and cried in fear. His dogs rushed to his aid and the bear ran away leaving a small bear cub behind. The farther quickly yelled out to his son to protect the cub from the approaching dogs and the boy instinctively fell on the cub with his body.  The pair called IFAW soon after. 

       2. Mishka, 3. Tisha, and 4. Sasha

Three more bear brothers, all males, arrived February 22 from the Kostroma Region after tree loggers unintentionally frightened a mother bear from her den. Fortunately the temperature that night was around 0°C and the bear cubs survived the night without their mother. Two days later our staff picked them up. The bear cubs were larger than the first cub and 2-3 weeks older. They were in good health but one bear cub was coughing on account of the cold night. He was treated with antibiotics injections and recovered.

5. Vinnie 6. Pooh and 7. Pyatachok

These three arrived the first of March from the Tver Region. A forest ranger was in the forest evaluating the plots for logging when he fell through the snow into a bear den. The frightened female bear ran away leaving her cubs behind. The ranger didn’t take the bear cubs hoping that the mother would return but called our specialists for a consultation. We recommended taking the bear cubs immediately as there was no evidence that mother bears return to a den they left and the small bears would inevitably freeze to death. The male bear cubs arrived at approximately six weeks old and weighed 3.1, 2.6, and 2.kgs. Two larger bear cubs started to eat on the second day of their arrival. The smaller bear cub started to eat only on the third day and during the first two days was rehydrated orally and with subcutaneous injections.

8. Masha and 9. Misha

These two bear cubs arrived from the Archangel Region on March 11. In late February the noise of the tree-logging tractor frightened a mother bear from the den. After some time the tree-loggers heard the whining of the bear cubs and found three small bear cubs in the den, one of them sadly already dead. For two weeks a family cared for the bear cubs, and then they were delivered to our Center. The bear cubs received the names of the family members that cared about them in Archangel Region. When the bear cubs arrived they were weak and smaller than those already at the Center but they are quickly catching up!

10. Misha Melnikov

This bear cub is from the Leningrad Region and arrived on March 19. He was found and taken from the den after his mother ran away frightened by the tree loggers. This bear cub’s “surname” is Melnikov, to distinguish him from the other two Mishas at the Center. Since in the Russian folklore the bears are called Misha, Mishka, or Mikhail, a lot of bear cubs arrive at our Center already being named Misha.

11. Margo and 12. Vassili

This sister and brother hail from the Pskov Region and arrived April 6. Their mother left the den frightened by the noise of some machinery. The bear cubs were alone in the den for two days, but as the weather was rather warm, they survived. As the cubs spent three months with their mother, they were rather wild and avoided people’s presence. They started to eat from bowls and were put in the quarantine box, at the first feeding.

13. Permyak

This bear cub was delivered from the city of Perm on April 19. It’s unclear how he got there. A local hotel owner found him wandering the property and started caring for him but was so exhausted that she was ready to give it up. A local private circus trainer was interested to take the bear cub to turn it into an ‘artist’, but after the local animal activists started a campaign against it, the cub was delivered to the Center. The bear cub is rather wild as he has spent some time with his mother after they left the den at the beginning of March, and that gives him better chances to avoid becoming a nuisance bear after the release. The wilder, the better, we say!

14. Victoria

This bear cub comes from Moscow! She was noticed sitting in a tree in a forest on the territory of New Moscow on May 5. From the very beginning the Moscow Government was planning on rescuing the bear cub and this is why all the necessary permits and documents for the cub’s transportation and further rehabilitation were done quickly.

15. Varya and 16. Wall-E

These two bear cubs, male and female, are from the Velikolukski District of Pskov Region. Evidently they lost their mother and were starving so they lost the fear of people and came to the village Demidovo. At the Center they were separated from the others in quarantine and and demonstrated a strong avoidance of people, as they had been with their mother for a rather long after the family left the den. It is not planned to unite them with the other cubs as we hope to preserve this wildness. These bear cubs will be probably soft released earlier than the other cubs.

RELATED: WATCH: Rescued bears dash to freedom in Russia


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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