Today 10th June, 2022, two bears from Zoo Mena, Ukraine, arrived at Bellewaerde Park. The bears are being quarantined at Bellewaerde Park, which serves as a stopover on their journey to Wildwood Trust in England, where they can stay until they can safely return to Ukraine. Due to the quarantine period, these animals will not be visible to visitors.
The Nature Support Center in Oudsbergen coordinates the reception of various animals from Ukrainian zoos. They had asked if Bellewaerde Park would be willing to temporarily accommodate animals. “As a zoo, Bellewaerde Park aims to protect animal species. We were obviously willing to help when we were asked this exceptional question. Bellewaerde Park has the necessary facilities and expertise to accommodate the animals and ensure their medical follow-up”, says Melissa Nollet, veterinarian at Bellewaerde.
A long trip
The two bears Tishka and Sandra are from the same litter and were born in January 2015. They lived for several years at Zoo Mena located in northern Ukraine, but had to find a new home because of the war.
The bears were able to cross the border via a shelter in southwestern Ukraine and were housed for a month at Poznan Zoo in Poland. After a journey of more than 2,800 kilometers from Mena Zoo, the animals finally arrived at Bellewaerde Park on June 10.
As Ukraine is not part of the European Union, it is mandatory to place these animals in quarantine for three months, in accordance with the Animal Health Law. A month that has already taken place in Poland, the last two months will take place at Bellewaerde Park.
“Thanks to this quarantine period, it is possible to observe these animals very closely on a daily basis and to carry out tests in a controlled environment. If, however, symptoms of a disease appear, we can intervene immediately,” according to Melissa Nollet, veterinarian at Bellewaerde.
During this quarantine period, the bears will not be visible to park visitors, to ensure minimal contact with the outside world.
After their quarantine period in Bellewaerde Park, the animals will return to the Nature Support Center in Oudsbergen. They will travel to Wildwood Trust in England, where they can remain until their safe return to Ukraine.
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