LiBearTy: ‘Immigrants’ from Armenia settle down in Romanian bear sanctuary

Former Armenian residents, Masha and Girsha (Misha), have taken their first steps on the grass in a bear sanctuary in Romania after being moved there through a strenuous effort involving activists from several countries.

The plight of the two bruins in a private zoo in Gyumri became an internationally discussed topic after the issue was first raised in a Daily Mail article in January.

Activists in Armenia also raised the concerns about the bears and other animals, including lions, languishing in poor conditions and suffering from malnourishment because of the inability of the ailing owner of the zoo to keep them anymore.

According to the earthisland.org journal, the relocation of the animals to the sanctuary called Libearty became possible through combined efforts of animal activists from Armenia, France, Spain, and Romania.

A video posted on the internet earlier this month shows the first time that the former “Armenian” bears step into the sanctuary that is already home to some seven dozen of their kin. The bear haven established in 1998 is located on 70 hectares of oak and hazel forest in the Carpathian Mountains above the Transylvanian town of Zarnesti.

With all immigration procedures over, Masha and Girsha, as seen on the video, seem to pretty much enjoy themselves, jumping around and taking a bath in a pool in warm spring conditions.

Earlier, lioness Mary and her two cubs, Zita and Geeta, from what the British tabloid described as “the world’s saddest zoo” in Gyumri had been taken to the Caucasus Biodiversity Shelter in Armenia with assistance from international organizations.