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RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

Ukrainian Bear Adopted by Scottish Zoo


After enduring severe trauma in a Ukrainian zoo occupied by Russia, The Five Sisters Zoo is adopting an Asiatic black bear in Scotland.

In October 2022, Ukraine liberated a village called Yampil in Donetsk. When going through the village’s damages, they entered an abandoned zoo. They discovered that most of the 200 animals at the zoo had been killed.

The 12-year-old bear, now named Yampil after the village, was one of the last survivors. According to his rescuers, Yampil was starving, filthy, and nearly dead. The Five Sisters Zoo said he was days away from dying due to an injury from a concussion he received when a shell exploded near his exhibit.

Yampil’s rescue mission has been challenging. He has been all across the European continent, from Ukraine to Poland to Belgium, where he is currently resting until his new home in Edinburgh is ready. He is planning to make his arrival in Scotland early next year.

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Though the war in Ukraine has displaced and killed many humans, it has done the same to just as many animals. People had to flee from the conflict, leave their pets behind, and caring for zoo animals was impossible.

“War and conflict…is a horrible thing, and it’s very traumatic for people. It’s often forgotten that it’s traumatic for animals as well,” Romain Pizzi, Five Sisters’ head veterinarian, told CNN.

Animals can suffer long-term effects from trauma and require specialist care. The Five Sisters Zoo is prepared for any repercussions from the trauma Yampil has experienced.

“We want to make sure that what we build for him as a sanctuary enclosure in…Scotland is going to meet his needs, and they’ll be specific to him, depending on what trauma he’s gone through and what maladaptive behaviors he may have developed in that time,” Pizzi said.

The zoo’s head carnivore keeper, Garry Curran, added to Pizzi’s comment.

“I was quite emotional about it and it’s kind of unimaginable some of the stuff that he’s gone through,” Curran told CNN. “And so we were really keen to do our best to make sure that we create a home for the rest of his life no matter the cost.”

Yampil is now safe from all the war and destruction and set to live a long, healthy life in Scotland.

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About the Contributor
Taylor Roberts, Staff Writer
Taylor Roberts is a freshman Public Relations and Advertising major from Hopewell, Pa. She is a reporter for RMU Sentry Media and works on shows for RMU-TV. Outside of the newsroom, she enjoys music, reading, photography/videography and binge watching TV shows.