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Friday, January 1, 2021

the lonely bear ... transported and could be back in wild !!

Just as we adored MS Dhoni for his calm demeanour and ice-cool approach under testing times, during our school days, it was Bjorn Borg in Tennis – especially his game against Jimmy Connors and John Mcenroe who would throw tantrums .. .. …


Björn Rune Borg  ruled the Tennis World - between 1974 and 1981, he became the first man in the Open Era to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles (six at the French Open and five consecutive at Wimbledon), though  he was never able to win the US Open in four finals appearances. He is the first male player to win five Wimbledon titles in the Open Era. He won four consecutive French Open (1978–81) and is 6–0 in French Open finals.   A teenage sensation he won so many,  made millions in endorsements, and also showed to the World what  pressure is – as he eventually retired at an young age of 26 ! -  burnout !!  

Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere.


A small tidbit – Bjorn is a Scandinavian male given name – and means ‘bear’ (the animal).  We see bears in Zoos and somewhere in Northern part of India, could have seen them on roads too – nay, not the wild ones roaming but  chained and exhibited.  Have seen bears tied to rope made to walk on roads of Agra.  Elsewhere in Siberia, dogs are trained to attack and harm chained bears ! Sad and they call these games ..


In my childhood have read this moral story in Tamil, which perhaps most have read in their mother-tongue.  Long ago, there lived two friends – Ram and Sam – many a days they would walk into the nearby forest, collect woods and other material for material. Rarely they would encounter wild animals, and mostly would run away in fear escaping from possible danger.  They had a pact to help each other in trouble.

On a rainy day with not much of sunlight – inside the forest, suddenly they saw a bear at a distance.  They were frightened and did not know what to do ! Innocent Ramu was totally lost in fear and was trembling  – Sam who had the ability to climb tree was a bit cunning too.  He thought that if Ram was exposed to the bear, his escape would be easier.  Advising Ram to fall flat, Sam climbed a tree without even trying to help Ram, and hid himself. 

Ramu lay on the ground as the bear came nearer and sniffed him – he  held his breath pretending as if dead.  Perhaps the bear was not so hungry or perhaps it was fooled by the act ~ good time for Ramu, the bear went away without harming him.  Now Sam got down and was curious to know what had happened.  He asked, I saw the bear coming near your ear and uttering something.. .. .. what did it say ?  - a composed Ram retorted ‘be wary of your friends !’.. .. ‘the conclusion is not that bears will not eat / harm a dead man, but one must have only trustworthy and true friends who would help at time of difficulty  and not one who would run away in danger’.


Miles away, this is a story of a bear in Ukraine as reported in MailOnline.  The world's loneliest bear who spent her entire life in a cage and was forced to perform for a circus will finally get to meet other bears after being rescued.  It is reported that Jambolina, 11, was rescued by animal rights organisation Four Paws after being kept in a tiny cage in a garage in Ukraine while not performing at the circus for 11 years, according to the charity.

She was collected her from her home last Tuesday and taken on a four-day, 1,500-mile (2,400km) journey to the Arosa Bear Land reserve in Switzerland. Although Four Paws has a rescue centre in Ukraine, it currently has 22 bears which is the maximum capacity, so the charity contacted the Swiss reserve for help.

She had been used as a circus bear since she was bought by her owner just weeks after her birth in in January 2009 at Yalta Zoo in Crimea. Public performances were cancelled from March this year because of the coronavirus lockdown, meaning her owners could no longer afford to keep her. According to Four Paws, the owner had kept the bar in a small crate just a few feet wide since the start of the pandemic, in which she could hardly move at all and suffered from lack of exercise and boredom, and asked the charity to give her a 'a good life'.  Moreover, the bear had been raised in loneliness in that tiny cage since she was a cub.

Director of Four Paws Ukraine Taras Boiko said the rescue was a complex journey across Poland, Germany and Austria, especially with current travel restrictions.  She  said: 'Transporting a bear across four national and two EU borders is a big challenge, even more so in COVID-19 times.  'We had to ensure Jambolina’s wellbeing at all times while a lot of paperwork and controls were needed for the logistical part of the transfer.'  A snow groomer brought Jambolina safely through the snow masses at over 2,000 meters above sea level on the final part of her journey. 

They are hoping that this natural instinct will help her to return to her bear roots. 'For the time being, she will remain in an adaption enclosure so that the team of animal caretakers can observe her.  Through targeted food distribution, she will be accustomed to the rhythm of hibernation and hopefully regain her natural instincts.'

Private ownership of bears in Ukraine is possible as long as they are not captured in the wild and are cubs from bears already in captivity.  Cages are required to be a minimum of 322sqft (30 square metres) and 10ft (three metres) high but there is little monitoring or punishment for breaches of the regulations.

Whether Jambolina could adapt herself to the wild, develop its natural instincts of praying and surviving is a big Question mark though !


With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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