Science & Environment

Bear Rescued From Ukraine Zoo Finds New Home In Scotland

LONDON (AP) — An unlikely refugee from the war in Ukraine — a uncommon Asiatic black bear — arrived at his new residence in Scotland on Friday and rapidly took to a meal of cucumbers and watermelon.

The 12-year-old Yampil was named for a village within the Donetsk area the place he was one of many few survivors discovered by Ukrainian troops within the stays of a bombed-out personal zoo.

Yampil, who had beforehand been known as Borya, was found by troopers who recaptured the devastated city of Lyman throughout the Kharkiv counteroffensive within the fall of 2022, mentioned Yegor Yakovlev of Save Wild, who was among the many first of many individuals who led the bear to a brand new life.

Yampil the bear arrives at his new residence in Scotland after his rescue from harrowing circumstances at a bombed-out Ukraine zoo.

The bear was present in a menagerie that had lengthy been deserted by its homeowners. Almost all the opposite animals had died of starvation, thirst or had been struck by bullets or shrapnel and a few had been eaten by Russian troops. Yampil narrowly missed the identical destiny, struggling a concussion from a projectile that landed close by.

“The bear miraculously survived,” mentioned Yakovlev, additionally director of the White Rock Bear Shelter, the place the bear recovered. “Our fighters did not know what … to do with him, so they started looking for rescue.”

What adopted was an odyssey that your common bear hardly ever makes, as he was moved to Kyiv for veterinary care and rehab, then shipped to a zoo in Poland, then to an animal rescue in Belgium, the place he spent the previous seven months, earlier than touchdown within the United Kingdom.

Brian Curran, proprietor of Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, Scotland, mentioned his coronary heart broke when he realized of the plight of the threatened Asiatic black bear.

“He was in terrible condition; five more days and they wouldn’t have been able to save him,” Curran mentioned. “We were just so amazed he was still alive and well.”

The bear was skinny however not malnourished when he was discovered, mentioned Frederik Thoelen, a biologist on the Nature Help Center in Belgium. He now could be estimated to weigh a healthy 440 kilos (200 kilograms), Thoelen mentioned.

The nature heart in Belgium, which normally treats injured wildlife and returns them to their pure settings, has taken a number of animals rescued from the struggle in Ukraine, together with a wolf, a caracal cat and 4 lions, although these animals had not skilled the ordeal Yampil endured.

It was exceptional how calm Yampil was when he arrived in Belgium, Thoelen mentioned.

The bear was educated previously two weeks to maneuver from his enclosure to the crate that may transport him throughout Belgium to Calais, France, then throughout the English Channel on a ferry to Scotland. Pastries from a neighborhood bakery had been used for good measure to lure him Thursday into the cage, the place he was sedated for the journey.

“We want to use the food that he likes most, and for most bears — and for people also — it’s sweet, unhealthy foods,” Thoelen mentioned.

Thoelen had a way of the bear’s weight as he drove the crate to the port.

“Every time when we had a red light or a traffic jam, when the bear moved a little bit, you could feel the van moving also,” he mentioned. “You could feel it was a heavy animal in the back of the car.”

Yampil arrived on the zoo about 15 miles (25 kilometers) west of Edinburgh and instantly made himself at residence. He feasted on cukes — mentioned to be his favourite food — and melon, mentioned Adam Welsh, who works at Five Sisters.

The Asiatic black bear is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species as susceptible to extinction within the wild, the place it may be present in central and southern Asia, Russia and Japan. It’s recognized for the distinctive white crescent patch on its chest that offers it the nickname moon bear. It can stay for as much as 30 years in zoos.

It’s not clear if the bear will go into hibernation. The winter has been hotter than traditional however colder days are on the horizon.

The zoo has different bears, however Yampil is the one Asian bear and distinctive in different methods.

“We’ve had circus bears, for example, that have been rescued,” Welsh mentioned. “We’ve had bears rescued from places like roadside restaurants where they’ve been used as kind of roadside attractions and been kept in subpar conditions. But this is the first time that we’ve worked with an animal that’s been rescued from a war zone.”

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