Black bear Yampil rescued from Ukraine zoo arrives in Scotland

Animal News : Black bear Yampil rescued from Ukraine zoo arrives in Scotland
The 12-year-old Asiatic black bear Yampil explores his new surroundings on his first day in his new home at the Five Sisters Zoo, Scotland, Britain, credit: Reuters/Russell Cheyne

An Asiatic black bear, who was found in an abandoned zoo in Ukraine, arrived on Friday at a zoo in Scotland. Out of 200 animals at the zoo in Donetsk, the black bear named Yampil was one of the few to survive.

After being rescued, he stayed for a while at the animal rescue center Natuurhelpcentrum in Belgium. On Friday, he made the over 12-hour journey to Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland.

“When the volunteers found Yampil, a shell had not long exploded near his cage, and he was concussed,” Brian Curran, the owner of Five Sisters Zoo, said. “He was in terrible condition.”

The 12-year-old black bear Yampil will be kept in a temporary enclosure while the zoo fundraises for his new permanent habitat. “We have the best team on hand to care for him and help make this transition as peaceful and calm for him as possible,” Curran said.

Animals in war

The Scottish zoo has previously re-homed bears from traveling circuses. Zoo staff told BBC Scotland News Yampil will be closely watched to see if he shows any signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) after being in a warzone.

“Yampil has been through a lot. We wanted to make sure we were very delicate when he arrived, so there was no loud noises. He’s experienced some really horrible things,” Adam Welsh, the zoo’s head of education, told the BBC. 

“Time will tell, but he seems remarkably calm, remarkably chilled out, and he’s been eating already. He’s come out his crate, he’s been eating, drinking and relaxing – that’s nice to see and we’re really hoping that continues,” he added.

Asiatic black bears

Asiatic black bears, also known as moon bears, are medium-sized bears native to Asia. They have black fur, rounded ears, and a light muzzle. 

They are omnivorous, feeding on fruits, nuts, insects and small mammals. Asiatic black bears are known for their ability to climb trees, and they often build nests in trees for feeding, resting, or even hibernating in colder regions.

Asiatic black bears face several threats, including habitat loss, hunting for their gallbladders (used in traditional Chinese medicine), and conflict with humans. These factors have led to a decline in their population, and they are classified as a vulnerable species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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