potap - the first resident of our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr 


When we met Potap for the first in 2012 he was only three years old and has had a sad life so far. After we've rescued him, Potap can now enjoy his greenery enclosure full of tall trees, big pools, fresh grass and a healthy diet at his forever home. Unfortunately not all the bears in Ukraine are sharing the same fate. 

2008 Potap was born in a zoo in Ukraine. His first year he spent in a circus. After that, he carved out a miserable existence on bare concrete within a little eight-square-meters-cage. The ceiling was so low he could hardly stand upright, positioned near a restaurant in order to “attract” visitors.

"He had problems breathing and a deep wound because he had to wear a leather collar that was too tight. His owner neglected him altogether. His body was skinny and emaciated. When the owner of the restaurant had to give up his business, Potap was only fed provisionally by local activists."

Dr. Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS Veterinarian

But now Potap is safe! The transfer in July 2012 went very well despite Potap’s poor condition that has resulted from his neglect. We are thrilled as he is now in the best possible hands and is being well taken care of by our animal care-takers in Domazhyr.

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FOUR PAWS has constructed a new bear reception centre near the Ukrainian city of Lviv.  BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr currently covers 7.7 hectares, and provides a species-appropriate home for six bears from dreadful keeping conditions. Over the next few years the sanctuary will be extended to cover 20 hectares, with room for 30 long-suffering bears. By constructing BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, FOUR PAWS has created a sustainable way to accommodate rescued bears, and is thus assisting the Ukrainian Government in its efforts to implement the ban on keeping baiting bears in the country.

Potap is now able to enjoy a peaceful life in a near-natural environment.

We call for a tightening of the existing law to ensure that in the future, the keeping of brown bears on hunting stations, in restaurants or hotels is forbidden and that no bears in Ukraine are exposed to such suffering anymore.

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