Update: Moscow Olympics bear held hostage caged in a rusty bus
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
TAMPA: The Associated Press has run a story about a 36 year old bear name Katya who performed during the 1980 Olympics and is currently being held captive in a small pen on a broken down rusty bus in St. Petersburg, Russia.
This would be an excellent opportunity for the Sochi 2014 organizers to rescue Katya in remembrance of the 1980’s Games’ mascot 'Misha the bear'. She would be a great legacy addition to the polar bear, snow leopard and the hare that are mascots of the next Russian Games. At least maybe they could get her transferred to the Moscow zoo so that she can receive proper care.
Katya was featured at a ceremony opening the football competition in the city during the Games and later went on to entertain kids doing a nightly ride on a motorcycle at the Big St. Petersburg State Circus on Fontanka. She also performed in two movies in the ‘80s.
Since 2009 when she was retired she has been held with other animals in the broken down bus that used to carry them for the circus. Her home is a small cage that she can barely move around in and animal activists say that she spends her days jumping up and down in her pen and attempting to crack out of the bars with her yellow chipped teeth. The smell is atrocious due to a lack of cleanliness.
Dozens of other retired animals are kept there too with minimal care and only receive attention maybe once a day. Occasionally some are taken out and into St. Petersburg for photos with tourists but most are never washed or have any veterinary care or exercise.
Zoya Afanasyeva of the Vita animal rights group spoke to the AP about the sad situation of Katya and noted that she can’t move normally in the small pen nor get any exercise.
She also noted that the animals were receiving some sort of care but not much due to the horrible stench around the rusty vehicles. Other animals are in horrible conditions as another bear and a boar share a cage and some of the cats can’t meow and have severe eye infections.
AP talked to circus director Viktor Savrasov who said that Katya would have been put down except her retired trainer Natalya Arkhipova wouldn’t agree to have her put to sleep and still comes to feed her.
See the story here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/02/501364/main20086833.shtml
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