Spotlight Russia: Success! ‘Class of 2014’ bears released back to Russian wild

Bears Nestor and Nafanya dash out of their transport crates to a life in the wild.The post below comes in to us from IFAW Russia Office staff member Mila Danilova. -- MV

Earlier this month, six rehabilitated bears rescued as orphaned cubs were finally returned to the wild in Russia. The IFAW Bear Rescue Center staff was busy making sure that the bears (around 9 months old) were safely released for a life of freedom back in the forest.

During the months of July and August, the bears were able to finish the development of behaviors necessary for survival in their natural habitat. One such behavior is what we term ‘human avoidance’ critically important in their path towards a wild existence.

Read more about the bear cubs' stay at the Orphan Bears Rehabilitation Center.

At the beginning of August, all of the bear cubs were examined by an experienced wildlife veterinarian and tested for possible diseases. Fortunately, all of them were in good health. However, two orphaned cubs that were the last to arrive to the Center were too small to be released this autumn so the decision is to have them stay for ‘controlled hibernation’ at the Center.

Before the release, the bear cubs spend some time in quarantine and are fed natural forage.

We usually release the bears in pairs. The pairing is formed based on the character and behavior of the cubs and their sympathy towards each other – usually it is quite clear with whom the bear cub prefers to spend his or her time.

Right before the release all of the necessary veterinary documents are issued and the bear cubs are declared clinically healthy. During immobilization, all of the bear cubs' body dimensions are measured. As anticipated, the transports to the various release locations were done without any complications and six bears were finally released back to the wild! Here are their details:

Date of Release: August 28.

Names: Nestor and Nafanya

Weights: Nestor - 37kg. Nafanya – 35kg.

Release location: Nelidovsky District.


Date of Release: September 1st.

Names: Lava and Vesnushka

Weights: Lava - 40kg. Vesnushka – 38kg.

Release location: Nelidovsky District.


Date of Release: September 3rd.

Names: Nyura and Yelka

Weights: Nyura- 44kg. Yelka – 38kg.

Release location: Novgorod District.


Read more about IFAW efforts to help animals in crisis, visit our campaign page.

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