About a week ago, Digital Journal shared the shocking video
captured by Four Paws of a then 4-month old bear cub being brutally separated from her mother and sold to bear traders. Nastia was seen screaming frantically for her mother as two men from the Lutsk Zoo, violently wrenched her away, crammed her into a tiny transport box and sent her off to be a photo model for tourists.
But there is good news today for the traumatized cub. Yesterday morning, the international animal welfare organization, with the support of Ukrainian authorities, freed Nastia and she is now in Four Paw's care.
In a press release issued to Digital Journal, Four Paws said that its project leader and veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil, examined Nastia before her removal in his mobile animal rescue ambulance. "She is very anxious, malnourished and suffers from diarrhea,” Dr. Khalil said from the rescue site, "however, she is stable enough to be taken with us."
Dr Khalil said he "was horrified to see the cruel treatment of Nastia, and I am relieved that we could rescue her." The cub's rescue was described as "a very touching moment for the whole team."
But the rescue is just the first step in rehabilitating the bear cub. "There is still so much work for us to do," Khalil added. Although Nastia was saved Four Paws said, they do not know whether the cub will be recognized and accepted by her mother.
Four Paws is planning to find out within the next few days, when they will attempt to reunite mother bear and cub.
Aside from "the outstanding brutality" of ripping a cub from its mother," Khalil said, "a baby bear in the wild usually stays with their mother for two years. When taken away from her too early," the vet added, "the cub remains traumatized and suffers from a lack of real socialization."
Selling animals from zoos to private buyers is illegal in the Ukraine, but Nastia’s case is not unique Four Paws said. The penalties for illegal bear trading are also ridiculously lax. "The fine for this criminal action is only 60 Euros," said Dr. Khalil, who is urging the Ukrainian government to "strengthen the law and to establish more severe punishments in order to deter the ruthless animal traders."
Four Paws is also hoping to find a sustainable solution for both Nastia and her mother, to provide and guarantee a life appropriate for their species they said. This is the fifth bear rescued by the organization in the last few months. With the help of Ukrainian authorities, the group has already rescued four bears from terrible living conditions.
Watch Four Paws Ukraine's
rescue of the now 5-month-old bear cub Nastia, in the video above.