Bear with two cubs

(Photo: Bear Masha, rescued from a restaurant while pregnant. Masha gave birth to two cubs in January 2023)

In 2021, we rescued Barney, who was just three months old at the time. Poachers killed his mother and kidnapped him from the wild so that they can sell him off to the highest bidder. Who would buy a bear you might be thinking? Zoos, restaurants, the circus, and people who want to show off exotic pets on social media. Nothing good awaited Barney. When we saw Barney’s ad, we sprang into action and purchased his freedom. The transaction was recorded and the poachers were later arrested. However, the damage already done was irreversible. Barney had no mother and his return to the wild was impossible.

Months later, local news reported a bear roaming a village. Authorities quickly came on the scene and shot him down with tranquilizers. This bear turned out to be blind and elderly. We named him Dunbar and placed him under our care. Dunbar is another bear that could not returned to the wild.

Today, GWARP cares for 15 brown bears that were all rescued from illegal or abusive situations. All bears live in the National Park Altiaghaj, on land owned by the government of Azerbaijan, in enclosures that we built for them.