Rescue
Bear who spent 10 years in tiny flooded cage takes her first steps to freedom
After years in a cage, Dasha was free.
Rachel Shapiro
11.10.21

For 10 long years, two brown bears named Misha and Dasha were stuck in a tiny cage in a restaurant located in Armenia. The two served as tourist attractions, and they spent their days pacing back and forth, trying to relieve their boredom.

They would often bang their heads against the cage or climb the bars — they would do anything to try and bring some joy to their lives.

Facebook/International Animal Rescue
Source:
Facebook/International Animal Rescue

To make things worse, the cage was located right on a riverbank, and their cage often flooded. Once, the water rose so high the poor bears almost drowned.

“A few years back, the river flooded and the bears almost drowned,” Lis Key, PR and communications manager for International Animal Rescue, told The Dodo. “As you can see from the rescue photos, the rescue team had to cut through the cages to release them, so they must have been trapped when the river flooded and in serious danger of drowning.”

International Animal Rescue
Source:
International Animal Rescue

For years, International Animal Rescue (IAR) tried to save these two bears.

Finally, in November 2017, IAR and the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) were able to convince the restaurant owners to release the bears to their care.

IAR’s rescue team cut through the metal cage’s bars and freed the two bears. They sedated the bears and brought them to their mountainside sanctuary, a place where they would finally have the freedom to roam and follow their natural instincts.

Soon after arriving at the sanctuary, Misha and Dasha went into a cave to hibernate for winter. And when they emerged in spring 2018, they weren’t alone.

Dasha had given birth to two happy and healthy cubs.

Dasha’s rescuers hadn’t even known she was pregnant when she went to hibernate, and so they were shocked and elated.

Dasha had been through so much, and now, she finally had a family of her own.

“She received all necessary care after being rescued, enough fruits, veggies, nuts and honey to gain weight and fat before hibernation … but nobody guessed her good appetite was a result of pregnancy,” Vicky Mkrtchyan, environmental projects coordinator for FPWC, told The Dodo.

YouTube Screenshot
Source:
YouTube Screenshot

The cubs are now two months old, and they’re doing great! Dasha is a wonderful mom who always keeps a careful eye on her two young cubs.

“It was already uplifting to see Dasha freed from the barren cage by the river and start to take an interest in life and in her surroundings,” Mkrtchyan said. “Now, seeing her with her two little cubs is simply beautiful. It is so moving to reflect on her miserable life behind bars and then look at her now — a natural mother caring for her cubs, protecting them fiercely from the outside world.”

Dasha and Misha went through so much, but now, they’re finally in a safe place where they can enjoy their lives and their freedom.

YouTube Screenshot
Source:
YouTube Screenshot

We’re so glad Dasha and her cubs are doing so well, and we can’t wait to watch them grow up. What a good ending!

Check out a video about Dasha’s rescue below.

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By Rachel Shapiro
hi@sbly.com
Rachel Shapiro is a contributing writing at Shareably. She is based in New York and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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