Bears of 'World's Saddest Zoo' Find Happy Ending at Sanctuary [VIDEO]
The Gyumri zoo of Armenia was perhaps not very well known outside of the region. Three lions and two bears populated this “zoo”, which really only included outdoor cages on display that were barely larger than the animals themselves. If it was meant to attract tourists, it resulted in the exact opposite.
A reporter from the Daily Mail took notice of the situation, calling it the “world’s saddest zoo”, and posted depressing photos of malnourished, tired, and desperate animals, stating they were left to:
“Live out their boring, hunger-filled days in tiny cages, displaying all the signs of creatures slowly being driven mad by their unnatural existence.”
While the article left readers quite depressed and disillusioned about the situation, what it failed to mention was that there were already individuals and organizations busy trying to secure the release of the animals after the owner of the zoo stated he was too ill to care for them.
In the end, Armenian Environmental Network (AEN) was able to find a sanctuary in Romania (Libearty Sanctuary) to take the bears, with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation funding the relocation. AEN, together with the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), and a group titled SOS Gyumri Zoo Animals, were able to find a happy ending for these two bears who spent so much of their lives in despicable conditions. Serda Ozbenian, executive director of AEN, stated:
“All in all, individuals and organizations from Armenia (Yerevan and Gyumri), France, Spain, and Romania were supporting the mission to rescue the bears and the lions.”
The three lions also experienced a happy outcome. The Worldwide Veterinary Service issued a statement stating that with the help of FPWC, the lions were transferred to the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, where they were in “good physical and mental state after the adventurous experience.”
While the situation of wildlife captivity in Armenia is far from over, the heartwarming video below of the two bears, Masha and Grisha, exploring the Libearty Sanctuary for the first time is enough to remind us that change is possible and we owe it to the animals to remain vocal and organized!
Photo Credit: http://images.fineartamerica.com