- Volunteering at the Bear Rescue Center, Great Bear Rescue Project
During a ONE WEEK-LONG volunteering program, you will share the responsibilities of bear keeping by feeding and watering the bears, cleaning their enclosures, providing enrichment means, assisting with hosting the visitors and presenting the Center’s mission and helping in organizing the daily routine of the bears as well as assisting in the construction and maintenance works of the cages and enclosures.
The bears receive medical treatment and are nursed back to health, so that they can live out their lives with many other bears in large enclosures. Many bears are sick and disabled and will require permanent care for the remainder of their lives. It can be very emotional work treating and caring for sick and abused animals, so you should try to be prepared for this. Be rest assured that you are amongst like-minded people, who are experiencing the same feelings and emotions as you, and they will be there to support you.
About the Great Bear Rescue Project
The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Animal Rescue (IAR), the primary goal of which is providing better conditions for the captive bears, all around Armenia. The animals are being kept in cages mainly due to the human factor, and now they need special care. There are still many captive animals in several entertainment facilities and restaurants, around Armenia, waiting for their turn to be rescued.
Every year wild bears are illegally caught or trapped by poachers in Armenia. Once captured, many of them end up in small, squalid cages in restaurants and other public entertainment venues as a tourist attraction. Some are kept in bus depots; others are hidden from view in dark cellars. Some of the bears are mentally and physically damaged by the boredom and frustration of their miserable existence behind bars.
The bears in Armenia are Syrian Brown Bears (Ursus arctos syriacus), one of the smaller sub-species of brown bear. They are found in the mountainous areas of the country where they forage for fruits, berries and insects in the meadows and forests and hibernate in caves and tree hollows. Their barren prisons are a far cry from their natural home in the forest.
The project aims to free them from their suffering and, after thorough veterinary checks and assessment, rehabilitate and eventually release those that are physically and mentally equipped to fend for themselves in the wild. Those that are not viable for release will be given a permanent home in sanctuaries where they will be well cared for, well fed and have the freedom to express natural bear behavior.