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Animals

Charity workers help save 6 caged bears from squalid private zoo

The animals, including a mother and two cubs, were being held in tiny cages surrounded by muck.

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By Ben Turner via SWNS

This is the moment UK charity workers helped save six caged bears from a squalid private zoo in Eastern Europe.

The animals, including a mother and two cubs, were being held in tiny cages surrounded by muck.

Heartbreaking footage shows the bears pacing inside their concrete dens, which appear to be just several feet long and wide.

One devastating moment captures a mother bear separated from her two distressed cubs, who are seen clawing at their metal cage.

This month, rescuers saved the six bears from the zoo in Artsakh, a breakaway state between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

A video shows the bears being tranquilized before they are transported by car to a rehabilitation center in the Armenian mountains, where they will be cared for before being released into the wild.

Rescuers also saved a captive lynx from the zoo.

The mission was coordinated by UK-based charity International Animal Rescue with its local partner Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Culture Assets.

IAR says it has saved 35 bears from filthy and barren cages in Armenia from private locations such as restaurants, factories and gas stations.

Alan Knight OBE, president of IAR, said: "This is the biggest bear rescue mission FPWC and IAR have accomplished together.

"Any rescue operation that involves anesthetizing captive wild animals requires meticulous planning and execution to ensure the safety and welfare of animals and people.

"Now we must turn our attention to caring for the bears, providing them with nutritious food and veterinary treatment to improve their health and give them the lives they deserve.

“Once the bears have completed their time in quarantine and passed all the medical checks to ensure they are healthy, it will be a joy to see them get their first taste of the outside world.

"It will be delightful to see the little cubs with grass and soil under their paws for the first time, rather than the muck they’ve been standing on in their cages.”

“We won’t rest until all the caged bears in Armenia have been freed from their miserable lives behind bars and given the better lives they deserve."

Ruben Khachatryan, director of FPWC, said: “In October 2017 FPWC launched a massive bear rescue program in cooperation with International Animal Rescue.

"We are glad that the organization is always by our side, supporting the implementation of our programs.

"As an associated member of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, FPWC has created conditions for animals that meet all the norms and standards to ensure their wellbeing.”

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