The bear release centre in Ussurisky nature reserve has just become a home for two more bear cubs. The cubs in question were found in the forest by Inspection Tiger rangers.The cubs, both aged five weeks, had lost their mother and would have been unable to survive in the wild on their own.
Unfortunately, more often than not orphaned cubs end up as live toys for rich local farmers, or get smuggled in parts or alive to neighbouring China where the only fate that awaits them is to serve as ingredients for traditional oriental medicine.
According to the Customs Department and Border Patrol Police, 2001 was particularly marked by this kind of illegal activity. Thanks to the Bear Release Centre that Phoenix has been operating since 1999, bear cubs are given an opportunity not only to survive but also to be released back into the wild after undergoing a special rehabilitation course conducted by a specially trained forest ranger. Phoenix works closely with local Wildlife and Game Service and Ussurisky nature reserve to ensure the appropriate care and safety of the bear cubs until their release.
Phoenix first opened the facility in 1999 and in autumn of the same year re-introduced 5 cubs back into the wild. Another cub that was trained in the Centre later was radio-collared and released in October 2001 in the Sikhote-Alin nature reserve. Sponsors of the project are: WildAid, International Bear Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare.