Rescued Bear Cub Gets First Taste Of Freedom

A rescued bear cub who was illegally sold by a Ukrainian zoo to animal traders has been enjoying her new-found freedom by going for a swim for the first time.

Eight-month-old Nastia is now in "good health" and has been moved to a new home by the animal charity that rescued her.

The enclosure at a FOUR PAWS Bear Rescue Centre in Zhytomyr called Nadiya - Ukrainian for "hope" - is spacious, has plenty of trees for the cub to climb and a pond to swim in.

"We have waited a long time for this wonderful moment," said Dr Amir Khalil, head of the charity's Ukraine project.

"Finally, Nastia can live a beautiful life appropriate to her needs. She is in a safe place now."

Helmut Dungler, founder and CEO of FOUR PAWS, added: "It is touching to follow Nastia's first steps into freedom. I am happy that we succeeded in bringing the little bear's suffering to an end."

The charity first raised awareness of her captivity in June when it released a video of Lutsk zoo illegally selling the cub and forcing her into a cramped transport box.

Footage showed the animal screaming as she was snatched from her anxious mother, Masha, pacing in her cage.

The charity rescued and reunited Nastia in July with her mother at the zoo, where both animals were cared for around the clock by FOUR PAWS staff, while the new rescue centre was built.