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'On the Eve of the First World War, the single Siberian province of Irkutsk was larger than all of India'
W.Bruce Lincoln

Rescued polar bear is ‘almost back to normal weight’, and with a new name, too

By Olga Gertcyk
29 October 2019

Distressing pictures of lost and emaciated predator on streets of Norilsk shocked the world earlier this year, but now she is transformed.

‘Today she weighs slightly over 150kg, she is feeling much, much better.’ Picture: Royev Ruchei Zoo

The skinny polar bear was photographed in the middle of June walking across the busy streets of Norilsk - hundreds of kilometres from the Arctic coastline - paying no attention to cars and stunned drivers. 

The last time a polar bear was seen this far inland was around 1970s, and it is still unclear how the animal got to Norilsk. 

There was a theory that it was caught as a cub by poachers who later aimed to sell its pelt, but ran short of money and couldn’t feed the predator. 

Martha the bear in zoo


Martha the bear in zoo


Martha the bear in zoo


Martha the bear in zoo

The female bear was named Martha in online voting. Pictures: Royev Ruchei Zoo

After watching the animal for a couple of days, Russian experts concluded that it was too underweight and sick to survive alone in the wild. 

The polar bear was caught and sent for rehabilitation to Krasnoyarsk’s Royev Ruchei Zoo, where staff confirmed that this was a female aged between one-and-a-half and two years old. 

At slightly over 100kg she was a worrying 60kg below the minimum weight for a polar bear of this age.

Now, four months after the predator was flown to Krasnoyarsk, zoo specialists confirmed the bear is definitely out of danger. 

Polar bear as brought to the zoo


Polar bear prepares to the trip to Krasnoyarsk


Polar bear prepares to the trip to Krasnoyarsk


Polar bear in Krasnoyarsk zoo

At slightly over 100kg she was a worrying 60kg below the minimum weight for a polar bear of this age. Pictures: Enisey TV, Royev Ruchei Zoo

‘For months zoo vets were quite literally fighting for her life,’ revealed a statement from Royev Ruchei. 

‘A special diet along with treatment for her was designed.

‘Her weight was checked daily. 

‘Today she weighs slightly over 150kg, she is feeling much, much better.’

This clearly shows in the latest pictures. 

Starving wild polar bear pictured in Norilsk city streets after walking 1,500 km inland in search of food


Starving wild polar bear pictured in Norilsk city streets after walking 1,500 km inland in search of food


Starving wild polar bear pictured in Norilsk city streets after walking 1,500 km inland in search of food


Starving wild polar bear pictured in Norilsk city streets after walking 1,500 km inland in search of food


Starving wild polar bear pictured in Norilsk city streets after walking 1,500 km inland in search of food

The skinny polar bear was photographed in the middle of June walking across the busy streets of Norilsk. Pictures: Zapolyarnaya Pravda, Slava Irina, Timur Voronkov

The female bear was named Martha in online voting. 

She now has a new temporary enclosure with her own swimming pool, and as soon as she gains another 30-40kgs a decision will be made about her future. 

So far the likely outcomes are to stay at the same zoo in Krasnoyarsk, or another zoo. 

It is not clear at this stage if the bear can be released back to the wild.

Comments (3)

Place her back in the wild and monitor to see how well she is doing. Another beautiful animal!
Doug Holman, USA
01/11/2019 01:55
1
0
suppose back out in the wild the bear will not be able to fend for herself? but from the few pics that we see here, all concrete floor in Krasnojarsk Zoo is also not the - ideal - place to be.
MORAK Benedikt, Moscow
30/10/2019 08:32
1
3
She looks so much better than the first time she went down south too far.
James, Alaska
30/10/2019 00:33
3
0
1

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