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Ian Frazier, 2013

Rescue for orphaned bear cub hiding in apple tree

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 June 2016

Frightened and hungry after poachers killed his mother, wild animal starts new life in Barnaul zoo.

The bear - too young to survive alone in the forest without his mother - growled from fright and hunger but wouldn't let locals come close to rescue Picture: Barnaul zoo

The three month old cub was scavenging for food in a yard in Soloneshnoye village, Altai region, when it was disturbed by local residents. 

He ran for the nearest apple tree and tried to hide himself in the leaves. 

The bear - too young to survive alone in the forest without his mother - growled from fright and hunger but wouldn't let locals come close to rescue and feed him.

Senior police lieutenant Anatoly Ziyatov eventually climbed the tree and restrained the thrashing bear in a jacket, and lowered him down. 

'He was a frightened, hungry bear,' he said. 'He was left without mother, and came to the village in search of food.

Bear on the tree


Rescue operation


Rescue operation


Rescue operation

'It is easy to say - take the bear down from the tree, but harder to do it.  He hissed and tried to fend me off with his paw. He did not understand that we wanted to help.' Pictures: EMERCOM in Altai region

'When he saw people, he got scared and climbed an apple tree. The locals heard him growling, but did not dare to help, and called to rescuers. 

'We needed to come up with a special way to do this. It is easy to say - take the bear down from the tree, but harder to do it. 

'Even a cat is aggressive in this situation. The bear hissed and tried to fend me off with his paw. He did not understand that we wanted to help. 

'I had to eventually wrap him in a jacket and got him down. When the bear was on the ground, he tried to escape.'

But instead he was caught, and gratefully ate a meal provided by locals. He was then taken to Barnaul zoo Lesnaya Skazka.

Bear cub in zoo


Bear cub in zoo


Rescuers meet the bear

Anatoly Ziyatov visited the bear he rescued in Barnaul zoo 'Lesnaya Skazka'. Pictures: Barnaul zoo, EMERCOM in Altai region

Altai wildlife official Evgeny Baturin said: 'In the wild, a lost or abandoned bear cub is doomed to certain death.

'But this one got its way to the people, and found salvation. Now his life is not in danger. The bear is safe, fed and under the supervision of specialists.'

Zoo director Sergei Pisarev, who had already taken a female cub called Plush this year, is now raising funds to try to keep both animals, otherwise the apple tree bear - called Potap will be sent to another zoo. The target, one million roubles  or $15,500. 

Comments (1)

Thank you to Lieutenant Anatoly Ziyatov for rescuing Potap from the tree and all of the people who helped with his rescue. I hope Potap and Plush are able to stay together at either the Zoo or a wildlife sanctuary. I realize when orphaned so young returning to the wild might not be an option. I also hope the poacher who killed Potap's mother is caught.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
14/06/2016 17:55
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