An abandoned zoo was discovered in the village of Yampil by Ukrainian soldiers in July 2022, five months after The Russian Invasion.

Countless animals had been left behind and forced to fight for survival amid Russian attacks and cold weather. Out of nearly 200 animals at the zoo, an Asiatic black bear, was one of the few animals that survived.

The bear was rescued by Belgian animal welfare charity Natuurhulpcentrum and named ‘Yampil’ after the village, where he was found.

When volunteers found Yampil a shell had not long exploded near his cage, he was concussed and in terrible state. Bears, like people, can suffer from mental health issues similar to post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) after they’ve suffered severe trauma.

Volunteers cared for Yamil during the time between his rescue and the search for his permanent home and this is where the staff of  Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, West Lothian, heard about Yampil’s plight and set about fundraising to bring him to safety and live with them.

The staff at Five Sisters Zoo’s dreams were realised when Yampil finally arrived at the zoo in the early hours of 12 January 2024. He was safely transported to his temporary enclosure to continue his recovery, or go into hibernation;

Currently the Zoo are working around the clock fundraising and building a permanent home / enclosure for Yampil. They have rescued and cared for lots of bears before but Yampil is the first Asiatic Black bear.

Details of Yampil’s story and what you can do to help can be found on the Zoo’s website on the following link  Yampil the Bear Rescue Fund – Five Sisters Zoo

Smart Planning have made a donation on 15/01/2024