Uckfield wildlife charity rescues captive bear

Masha a 9 year old bear kept in a dungeon all her life in the village of Akunk an hour from Yerevan in Armenia at a fish restaurant, Akunki Drakht, which means "Paradise of Akunk". 'British charity International Animal Rescue along with Wildlife Rescue Centre Armenia enlisted the help of the local fire brigade to cut open her cage and release her into the care of WRC at Yerevan zoo.' The bars from the cage are made into high end jewellery by local artist Sargis Baghdsaryan at his workshop in Yerevan. SUS-180417-110515001
Masha a 9 year old bear kept in a dungeon all her life in the village of Akunk an hour from Yerevan in Armenia at a fish restaurant, Akunki Drakht, which means "Paradise of Akunk". 'British charity International Animal Rescue along with Wildlife Rescue Centre Armenia enlisted the help of the local fire brigade to cut open her cage and release her into the care of WRC at Yerevan zoo.' The bars from the cage are made into high end jewellery by local artist Sargis Baghdsaryan at his workshop in Yerevan. SUS-180417-110515001

A team from Uckfield-based wildlife charity International Animal Rescue has freed another captive bear from a miserable life behind bars, bringing the number rescued so far to 12.

April was found living in a hell-hole in Armenia, barely able to see the outside world through the metal grille above her head.

Once the team learned of April’s miserable existence in a tiny concrete cell behind a restaurant, they drew up a plan to set her free. The first step was for Armenian emergency services to cut through cage bars with bolt cutters. April was sedated by a vet, carried out on a stretcher and transported to the rescue centre.

April had led an sad, lonely life. At nine years old, it is likely that she had lived in the cage since she was a cub. It seemed no one cared about her. Neither restaurant owners nor customers showed the slightest interest. Occasionally she was thrown enough scraps of food to survive. That was the extent of the care she was given.

Alan Knight OBE, IAR’s CEO, said: “It baffles me why anyone would keep an animal in such appalling conditions and treat it with such terrible cruelty and neglect. Thankfully April is now safely in our care and, thanks to the emergency services, the rescue team and our partners, she has the chance of a new and happy life.”

April is currently in quarantine and undergoing medical checks to assess her condition. She is being fed a nutritious diet to improve her health and build up her strength and being treated with the compassion and respect she deserves.

Knight added: “I’m sure it won’t be long before we see her improve both physically and mentally. I can’t emphasise enough that we couldn’t rescue and care for animals like April without the help of our many supporters. We are so grateful to them for enabling us to transform the lives of so many suffering animals.”

The ‘Great Bear Rescue’ campaign launched last October by IAR and FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets) aims to rescue all the caged bears living in misery and squalor in Armenia. It’s thought there may be as many as 60 in need of help. In the coming months, IAR and FPWC will rescue more desperate bears and post further updates on the campaign as it progresses.

The RSPCA investigate nearly 4,000 animal cruelty complaints in Sussex last year. You can read more about this investigation here.