Spotlight Russia: summer time gets cute orphan bear cubs outdoors

Some of the bear cubs like to swim.This post was filed by International Fund for Animal Welfare campaigner in Russia Mila Danilova. - GA

In early July, the doors to the outside world swung open for 12 orphaned bear cubs ready to explore!

They can now stroll through the nearby forest on their own. Although the cubs find and eat a lot of vegetation on their own, a bowl full of highly-nutritious concentrated food is put out for them twice a day to supplement their diet.

The bear cubs are now at the age when their social habits are developing. While in their enclosure, the cubs stay together, but once they leaving the enclosure they break out into groups. Gradually, the leaders start to be distinguishable, now there are only two leaders for 12 bear cubs.

Little Borya is a dark small bear trying to climb onto the log – third from the right.

At this age the bear cubs play a lot – playing helps them develop critical social habits. A huge log in the ravine is their favourite place to play as the soil underneath stays humid and the bear cubs can enjoy savory juicy vegetation.

Little Borya who together with his brother was the last to join the group, still feels a little bit shy and awkward but tries to be included in playtime.

In mid-May, a man was driving a car somewhere on a road between Moscow and St. Petersburg when he noticed something dark on the side. He u-turned and saw two small bear cubs that didn’t run away as he approached them. The bear cubs were so emaciated that the man could easily take them with him in his car.

He brought the bear cubs home and placed them in his garage. The man started to contact various zoos and circuses offering to sell the bear cubs for RUR10,000 (US$320), but in vain, as such facilities have enough brown bears.

Borya is playing in the water.One of the small circuses was interested in buying the small bears but only because they wanted to return them to the wild. A woman from that circus called IFAW’s Bear Rescue Center, and on May 24, the bear cubs were brought for rehabilitation.

Though the bear cubs were approximately the same age as the other ten already in care, they were much smaller, may be because they were starving without their mother’s care or because they were born by a young, not fully developed, mother. As they were from Bologoe District of Tver Region, the bear cubs were to receive names starting with B. One of them was named Borya (short from Boris), the other one still doesn’t have a name.

This summer is very hot in European Russia and the bear cubs spend a lot of time in the pond or near it. Some of the bear cubs are active swimmers, the others are reluctant to enter the water and prefer to stay on shore eating juicy vegetation. Borya is careful and shy and prefers to play on his own aside from his larger and stronger mates.


Stay tuned for more updates on the orphan bear cubs and help support our efforts to protect them with a donation now.

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