Born Free works with the Orphan Bear Rescue Centre (OBRC) in Russia to rescue, raise and rehabilitate brown bear cubs and prepare them for release back into the wild. The centre is located in an area of dense natural forest, approximately 450km northwest of Moscow.
Bear cubs are typically brought to the centre between January and late April, when temperatures are at their lowest. Some cubs are only days old and often in a critical condition – emaciated, injured, or suffering with pneumonia or hypothermia.
During their first days at OBRC, the cubs are provided with 24-hour care, fed every two hours and given veterinary treatment, if needed. Over the next few months they grow and gradually become more independent, and when old enough they are released into a large natural enclosure to learn about the forest in a safe environment. At eight to 10 months old, most cubs are ready for life in the wild and have gained enough weight to successfully hibernate through the winter. They are released close to where they were originally found, and OBRC’s bear specialists continue to monitor them to check how they are adapting to the life in the wild.
As well saving individual cubs, OBRC has helped to restore the micro-population of bears in the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve.