This morning, our telephone rang.
It was Eduard, the director of Utyos, calling us with some news: the bear cubs at their facility are not eight anymore, they are ten! Two more cubs were brought to the sanctuary in the last few weeks: one of them was found sleeping, alone and emaciated, in a farmer’s barn, probably looking for a place to hibernate; the other was found by a ranger in the forest, calling for his mother – he kept an eye on him from a distance and then, when night began to fall and it was clear that the mother was not coming back, he took him to safety.
The second surprise we received was extremely exciting: all ten cubs were released yesterday in their natural enclosure – the fence has been repaired and it can now keep them safe from predators and other territorial bears. When they were released from their temporary cages into the enormous, completely natural space, the cubs went crazy! They jumped in the snow, eating it, licking it, pawing at it; they bounced up tree trunks and showed everyone how strong they were; they wrestled each other, just because they could.
They were so happy to finally be where they can spend a perfect first hibernation, that we could hear their excitement in the words of Eduard, as he talked about their first day out.
These cubs had a rough start in life. Separated from their mothers, not only were they found, alive, and taken to the right place, but now they even have a safe haven to spend the winter in.
When they wake up, they will be fattened up and ready to be released back into the wild!