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Masha, Bodia and Nastia are enjoying their new lives


The three formerly tortured and distressed brown bears, Masha, Bodia and Nastia, are enjoying their new lives at the bear rescue centre Nadiya in Zhytomyr, Ukraine.



The last one to arrive at the bear rescue centre Nadiya in Zhytomyr was five years old; Masha. We rescued the former fighting bear in a secret mission just a few weeks ago. The female bear lived at the grounds of a dog training area near the City of Pavlograd. Her owner had bought her illegally from animal traders and for many years, used her as living bait for the training of hunting dogs. During this brutal hunt, dogs are trained to attack a defenceless and chained bear. Masha was kept in a tiny cage, in which she couldn’t even stand up, and was only allowed to go outside for the bear fights. After much negotiation, we finally succeeded in convincing her owner to leave the badly treated bear to FOUR PAWS. After a twelve hour long transfer, Masha finally arrived at her new home; the bear rescue centre, Nadiya.

At the time of her arrival she was very skinny, but with the help of a rich diet, consisting of chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, fruit and vegetables, Masha was able to gain some weight. During the last weeks, the animal keepers worked intensively with the traumatised bear to help her adapt to her new living conditions. Masha still takes her time to check and sniff every inch of her new home, but she has already become a lot calmer, and enjoys resting under the trees in the afternoon and sometimes indulging in a quick dip in the swimming pool.

© FOUR PAWS | Olena Trofimchuk


Masha’s enclosure is right next to Bodia’s, the bear cub who had been removed from his mother far too early by illegal traders and was sold to a Ukrainian TV channel in an undercover-action, then brought to the bear rescue centre in July. After having arrived as a rather stressed and skinny bear cub, Bodia has gained weight and confidence in the meantime. The active little fellow is enjoying his huge enclosure very much – including the swimming pools, the large stone cave with cosy straw and, naturally, the trees and the enrichment. Bodia is a talented climber and very often stays high in the trees, sometimes even taking a nap there.

© FOUR PAWS | Maryna Shkvyria

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© FOUR PAWS | Maryna Shkvyria

Nastia is now nineteen months old and was brutally torn away from her mother as a few weeks old baby, before she was sold to ruthless animal traders by the zoo Lutsk. After this, we were able to rescue Nastia and bring her to Zhytomyr in November 2012. Just like Bodia, Nastia loves to climb, the highest trees are her favourite places and she especially likes to sit in the crowns and play with the twigs. Her swimming performances are adored by the visitors  as the little bear likes to play with branches and small stones in the water by throwing them in the air, trying to catch them and by diving after the stones and bringing them back to the surface again.

Hibernation in the BEAR SANCTUARIES

For brown bears in the wilderness, it is now time to put on weight and prepare for hibernation. The bears in our BEAR SANCTUARIES in Austria, Germany and Bulgaria are also doing this, after having adapted well to their new environment, which offers them appropriate caves for hibernation. For Masha, Nastia and Bodia we are also arranging everything so that they can  hibernate according to their instincts, if they are ready to do so.