World’s loneliest bear who spent her life in a cage has finally been rescued from loneliness

A circus bear who spent her entire life in a cage has finally been rescued.

  • Jambolina the bear was rescued from Ukraine last Tuesday.
  • She was taken to the Arosa Bear Land reserve in Switzerland where she will receive the care she needs.
  • After spending her entire life alone and lonely, she will finally meet other bears.

11-year-old Jambolina has spent her entire life in a cage.

The world’s loneliest bear was forced to perform in a circus her entire life. Now, she will finally get the chance to meet other bears. Last Tuesday, Jambolina was rescued from a tiny cage in a garage in Ukraine. The animal rights organization Four Paws rescued the bear and took her on a four-day, 2,400km journey to the Arosa Bear Land reserve in Switzerland. According to the Daily Mail, Katharina Braun from Four Paws International commented, “She was kept alone in a tiny cage and had been since she was a cub. She was not with other bears.” In Ukraine, private ownership of bears is not illegal as long as they are not captured in the wild. Instead, they must be cubs from bears that are already in captivity. Moreover, while there are rules and requirements regarding the cages they are kept in, there is little monitoring and punishment for those who breach these rules.

Jambolina was brought to the Yalta Zoo when she was just a cub.

Weeks after her birth in 2009, Jambolina was brought to the Yalta Zoo in Crimea where she was used as a circus bear. This year, due to the coronavirus lockdown and restrictions, the zoo had to cancel all public performances. Subsequently, this meant that Jambolina’s owners could no longer afford to keep her. For this reason, she was kept in a small cage since the beginning of the pandemic. Her owners saw that Jambolina’s cage was so small that she could not move around and she suffered from loneliness, boredom, and lack of exercise. Thus, they reached out to the animal rights organization.

Transporting the bear was extremely challenging.

While a four-day, 2,400km journey is already difficult, the travel restrictions brought about by COVID made transporting the bear even more challenging. Before reaching Switzerland, Jambolina was reportedly transported across Poland, Germany and Austria. Commenting on the difficulties the rescue team faced, Four Paws’ Barbara van Genne explained, “Transporting a bear across four national and two EU borders is a big challenge, even more so in COVID-19 times. We had to ensure Jambolina’s wellbeing at all times while a lot of paperwork and controls were needed for the logistical part of the transfer.’ The Daily Mail wrote that for the final part of Jambolina’s journey, a snow groomer was used to carry the bear “through the snow masses at over 2,000 meters above sea level”.

At the reserve, Jambolina will receive the care she deserves.

While in captivity, Jambolina did not receive the care she needed. Instead, she was kept in conditions which were not appropriate for her species. Van Genne explained this further: “Jambolina’s keeping conditions were far from species-appropriate, which had a negative impact on her health. Her teeth are in bad condition and her claws need further examination. For the time being, she will remain in an adaption enclosure so that the team of animal caretakers can observe her. Through targeted food distribution, she will be accustomed to the rhythm of hibernation and hopefully regain her natural instincts.”

The rescue team hopes that Jambolina will quickly adapt and return to her bear roots.

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