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Rescue Orphaned Bear Cubs in Russia

Item # 32753

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Help raise an orphaned bear and prepare it for its eventual release back into the wild!

Each year, hundreds of brown bear cubs, just a few weeks old, are left orphaned as a result of the winter bear hunt in Russia. Cubs are born bald, toothless, and blind, and depend on their mothers for at least two seasons. Alone, the bear cubs have no chance of surviving.

Some of the orphaned bear cubs are lucky enough to be rescued and sent to the Orphan Bear Rescue Center operated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). At the Center, which is located about 350 kilometers northwest of Moscow, renowned bear specialist Professor Valentin Pazhetnov and his family bottle-feed and care for the orphaned cubs around the clock. When the bears are old enough, they are fed just once a day, then left to wander the forest freely and forage for themselves, reducing their dependency on humans. The cubs live in a small cabin where the door is always open through the summer months. Once they have matured enough, they are released into nature reserves where they are safe from hunters.

You can help. This Gift That Gives More™ funds care for a rescued baby bear cub in Russia for three days. 100% of funds go to IFAW's Bear Rescue Center in Russia.

Update from the Field

June 2016

baby bear

Orphan Bear Rescue Center (OBRC) currently has 12 bears undergoing rehabilitation at their rescue enter. They arrived at the Center in February and are now about 4.5 months old. IFAW has been a partner with OBRC for 20 years rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned bears working to ensure that they are raised to be successfully released back into the wild.

When the cubs first arrive at the center they are cared for indoors and are bottle-fed. Once they are able to eat solid food on their own – a gruel like substance – they transition to a den structure that gives them access to the outdoors. Eventually they will move to the forest enclosure where they will learn to eat the berries and leaves that nature provides. Once they have fully developed the natural behaviors that a bear needs to survive in the wild, which includes climbing, bathing, as well as foraging, they will be released together. To ensure their survival, OBRC will collar them and track their movements. To date, they have successfully released 220 bears into the Russian wilderness.

Update from the Field

October 2017

With your help, IFAW has been able to take in five orphaned bears throughout January and February 2016. These cubs were orphaned because the mother bears were scared from their dens by tree-logging noise. The Orphan Bear Rescue Centre gives them a second chance at life through providing them with the individualized care that they need. When they first enter the rehabilitation facility, the cubs are bottle-fed 6-8 times a day, gradually diminishing to four times a day as they grow. Soon, they will acclimate to the outdoor enclosure and later will be accompanied on walks in the forest to prepare them to be released back into the wild.

Cleopa was rescued from the Kirov Region of Russia in February after being orphaned. It took the IFAW team two days to drive 3,500 km to pick her up and bring her back. Estimated to be three weeks old, she weighed just three pounds. Cleopa required extra care and caused many sleepless nights – three days after arrival she stopped eating and seemed sluggish and weak. After the antibiotics treatment, Cleopa’s health improved. She now has a clean bill of health and plays with the other bear cubs. Soon, Cleopa will be brought outside with the other cubs to learn to find food and survive, while avoiding contact with humans so that she will be prepared for life outside the enclosure. When she is big enough and able to survive on her own, she will be released back into the wild.

baby bear

IFAW works to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress. IFAW seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people.

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