Bears Tyson and Mashutka at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr

Timeline of our activities and achievements


Mission to help the fighting bears in Ukraine

When FOUR PAWS began its work in Ukraine in 2012, the abuse of bears in dog fights was still legal. Although the cruel practice of bear-baiting was legally banned in 2015 thanks to campaigning by FOUR PAWS and local animal rights activists, an estimated 15 to 18 bears today still live on hunting stations and are exposed to the danger of being used as fighting bears to train hounds.    

In the framework of the #saddestbears campaign, FOUR PAWS has set itself the task of putting an end to the abuse of bears for dog fights and the keeping of bears on hunting stations by 2023. 

what four paws has achieved so far:

Leo and Melanka at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr

September 2020

FOUR PAWS has been fighting for a long time to rescue Leo and Melanka. Finally, we could transfer them to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. Read the whole story here!

Rescue Anya and Frankie

August 2020

Rescue Anya and Frankie: Read the story of two bears, ages 5 and 6, who could start a new life at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.

Bear Misha

Novmeber 2019

12-year-old male bear Misha was one of Ukraine’s #saddestbears. He was kept on a hunting station where he was most likely abused for bear-baiting. Now he can live a happy life in our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.

Rescue of Dasha and Lelya

October 2019

FOUR PAWS has successfully rescued two female brown bears on 29th October in Ukraine and transferred them to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr near Lviv. Dasha and Lelya were previously kept as a tourist attraction at a hotel and restaurant in Skole.

Former fighting bear Laska

February 2019

Former fighting bear Laska is successfully transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr close to Lviv on Febrary 28. Laska lived for years in intolerable conditions in the run-down Pokrovsk Zoo close to the city of Donetsk. We were able to verify that she was previously kept as a fighting bear and abused for training hunting dogs.  

January 2019

FOUR PAWS transfers the management of BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya to the local NGO 'Save Wild Fund'. All bears rescued by FOUR PAWS were transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr in 2017 and 2018.


July 2018

FOUR PAWS rescues fighting bear Kvitka.

BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr is officially opened for visitors

July 2018

BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr is officially opened for visitors.

Petition handover in Urkaine

April 2018

FOUR PAWS demands the prohibition of bears on hunting stations and submits 104,313 signatures to the Ukrainian government. 

October 2017

Tyson is the first fighting bear to move into BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.

Bear Potap

July 2017

FOUR PAWS rescues 'restaurant bear' Potap, who moves into BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr as its first resident. 


May 2016

Construction work begins on BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.

Bear-baiting in Ukriane


Together with other local NGOs, FOUR PAWS succeeds in obtaining a nationwide ban on the use of bears to fight dogs. However, keeping bears on hunting stations remains legal.  


June 2014

FOUR PAWS signs a cooperation agreement with the Lviv regional administration with the goal of constructing a bigger bear sanctuary in West Ukraine. BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya has no more capacity to admit new bears.   


FOUR PAWS rescues Masha, the first fighting bear, and brings her to BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya.


FOUR PAWS builds BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya close to the city of Zhytomyr (and houses two bear cubs there saved from the illegal wildlife trade). 


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