Dasha and Lelya at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr

Oct 2019


Rescue Bears Dasha and Lelya

They have spent most of their lives in a small concrete cage, unable to express their natural behaviour


On 29th October 2019, we transferred the two bears to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr near Lviv. On this day Dasha and Lelya left their old life behind – they were kept as a tourist attraction at a hotel and restaurant in Skole. Thanks to the Ukrainian authorities we were asked to take them over after the owners closed their business.

First update 

It is quite clear from the two bears behaviour that they'll need some more time to settle in completely. They are both very careful and slow in their movements. So far, Dasha seems to be braver one in comparison with shyer Lelya.

Dasha is already spending time outdoors and everyday takes a few more steps further from the indoor box. The other good news is that Lelya is not showing aggressive behaviour anymore, as was the case during and right after the rescue mission.

One thing is certain, both bears need more time to get used to their new surroundings, and that's completely normal considering what they have been through. The team on site is working patiently with them, and day by day, their progression will be even more visible.

Update 6th Novemer 2019

We can say that both bears are coping quite well during these first days of their arrival at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. They are fed well and may even go for partial hibernation already this year, however time will show that best. Yesterday, they spent more time outdoors. Lelya stayed for longer outside, enjoyed foraging through the bushes and looked more relaxed while listened to the birds. In the other hand Dasha was more careful, and eventually attracted Lelya to follow her inside.

Their favourite meals at the moment is tasty boiled eggs and grapes.

Update June 2023

Do you remember the lovely bear sisters Dasha and Lelya from BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr?

Both were rescued by FOUR PAWS in October 2019. Dasha and Lelya were kept together in a concrete enclosure to attract guests for a restaurant in Lviv region in Ukraine. Both adapted quickly and since then, they are enjoying their species-appropriate home.

Now a new adventure waits for the two sisters! We are planning to move them to our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz in Germany.

Lelya needs some medical treatment which currently cannot be fully provided in Ukraine. Whilst the local veterinarians in Ukraine, who we cooperate with, provide very good medical care for our bears at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, we have been experiencing limitations in accessing certain medical equipment and laboratory diagnostics in war-stricken Ukraine. To give Lelya the best care possible we decided to move her to BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz where the wildlife veterinarians from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, we are working with, are close by to treat her. As Dasha and Lelya were never separated it goes without saying that the sisters stay together for the next chapter of their life.

After many hours on the road, the bear sisters arrived on 15th June in Germany and are now settling in at their new enclosure.

Happy Lelya

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