In Ukraine, bears kept as tourist attractions are sadly not uncommon. Watching a wild animal confined in captivity can be entertaining to the unknowing tourist, but the suffering behind those bars is more than we can imagine. Mykhailo was no different from many bears like him in the country, who were and are being exploited just for being born. One day, Mykhailo had a terrible accident, but maybe for him, this accident could have been one of the best things to happen to him and change his life around.
According to his previous owner, the bear fell from a high tree within his enclosure, he was left seriously injured. Mykhailo could no longer walk and would drag his hind leg across the concrete floor in his enclosure, which resulted in even further damage to his hind paw. Untreated for days, he must have been be in terrible pain.
As Mykhailo was in such bad condition and his owner just wanted to get rid of the now injured bear. It was clear the bear needed veterinary care, so we decided to take Mykhailo into our care. When the team arrived on site, joined by our wildlife veterinarian, Dr Marc Gölkel, Mykhailo's condition was assessed, and his immediate wounds were treated. He would have a long recovery ahead, but get everything he needs from specialists and rest at our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.
A long road to recovery
Twice a day our caretakers treated his wounds and gave him his medication, of course with the help of some delicious honey. In the beginning, Mykhailo was staying in his bear house, where he had a nice warm bed full of straw but had limited movement for chance of the best recovery possible. Due to his intensive care, Mykhailo developed a strong bond with his caretakers who describe the bear as very sweet and gentle.
In May 2021, he finally was able to explore his outdoor enclosure. He even made friends with bear Mashutka, who lives in the enclosure near him. However, by September 2021, the caretakers noticed that Mykhailo was scratching his toes on his injured back leg, he underwent surgery to amputate to remaining toes on this leg which was essential for him to stop further injury and infection. Since then, the bear has been kept inside for a time to allow him to properly heal.