A bear whose habitat at a Ukraine zoo was struck by Russian shelling miraculously survived and will soon be rehomed to the UK

An asiatic black bear climbing a tree.
Yampil, an Asiatic black bear like the one pictured above, will have a new home at Five Sisters Zoo in the UK.Claro Cortes/Reuters
  • Yampil's home zoo in Ukraine was destroyed by Russian shelling last year.

  • Now, he's being relocated to a UK zoo to have "the future he deserves."

  • A zookeeper who recently visited Yampil called him a "calm and gentle individual."

Yampil, an Asiatic black bear from Ukraine, will arrive at a UK zoo later this month after his home zoo was destroyed by Russian shelling, The Guardian reported.

Yampil survived an attack that killed nearly 200 of his fellow zoo animals. He was found by Ukrainian troops near Donetsk last year, according to The Guardian. Now, the Five Sisters Zoo is building Yampil his own enclosure as they prepare to bring him to the UK.

When zookeepers visited him in Belgium's Natuurhulpcentrum zoo — where he's temporarily residing — in September, they hoped to better understand how Yampil was coping.

"Bears can often suffer mental health problems after going through a traumatic experience, and so it was really important we understood Yampil and what to expect from him," Garry Curran, head of carnivores for the Five Sisters Zoo, told The Guardian.

But they say they found Yampil happy and healthy ahead of his rehoming.

"Although he appeared a little nervous at first, he seems to have adapted surprisingly well and didn't actually show any concerning stress-related behaviors," Curran told The Guardian. "He seems to be a calm and gentle individual, which was reassuring for all of us."

The population of Asiatic black bears is decreasing, primarily because of hunting and deforestation, according to World Land Trust, an international conservation charity.

Federik Thoelen, a spokesperson for Natuurhulpcentrum, said Yampil "deserves a good and better future."

"We're very grateful they can offer Yampil the future he deserves," Thoelen told The Guardian.

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