Blind bear spent 30 years in cage, claims charity looking to free him
27th July 2021

The blind bear that has spent 30 years in a cage: Nelson has broken his teeth gnawing on bars and goes days without food at Armenian park, claims charity looking to free him

  • Nelson the brown bear has lived in a cage in Armenia for 30 years, according to International Animal Rescue
  • Campaigners claim he is given very little food and water and sometimes goes for days without being fed
  • Said his teeth are broken from gnawing on bars of cage, he went blind 2 years ago and suffers from arthritis 
  • IAR are calling on Armenian government to allow them to rescue him and take him to a local wildlife group 

A UK charity is campaigning for the release of a blind bear it claims has been kept in a cage in Armenia for 30 years. 

Nelson the brown bear has lived in a small filthy cage ever since it was a cub, according to International Animal Rescue (IAR). 

Animal campaigners claim he is given very little food and water and, according to locals, sometimes goes for days without being fed, they said. 

IAR is calling on the bear’s ‘captors’ at Salvation Park in Armavir town to surrender the animal to a local wildlife group. 

Nelson the brown bear has lived in a small filthy cage ever since it was a cub, according to International Animal Rescue (IAR), with campaigners claiming he is given very little food and water and has nothing to amuse or distract him

Shocking footage shows the animal staring out at the camera from behind bars and barbed wire fencing in his cage. 

Alan Knight, chief executive of IAR, said: ‘This poor bear has served a 30-year life sentence behind bars. 

‘He has suffered the mental and physical torture of a lifetime locked up in a small, barren cage with nothing to amuse or distract him. 

‘He has paced round and round for so long that he has worn a track on the floor. His teeth are broken from gnawing on the bars of the cage. 

‘And about two years ago, the poor animal went blind. He is in pain from arthritis and now also lives in darkness. 

‘The bear’s life sentence must not be allowed to become a death sentence.

‘There is still time for him to know kindness and compassion. 

‘We’re calling on the Armenian government to show clemency to this bear by allowing us to rescue him while there is still time. 

‘His “owner” claims to love the bear but loving an animal means taking proper care of it and feeding it, not letting it live in squalor and neglect.’ 

It is understood the bear ended up in the cage after being ‘rescued’ from neglect.

IAR is urging the sanctuary to release the animal to the care of Armenian organisation Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife & Cultural Assets (FPWC). 

So far, a coalition between the two organisations, which has been dubbed ‘The Great Bear Rescue’ – has removed 30 bears from private holdings.   

IAR is urging the sanctuary to release the animal, who has paced around in the cage for so long that he has worn a track on the floor, to the care of Armenian organisation Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife & Cultural Assets (FPWC)

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