Bear rescued from warzone visited by Ukrainian refugee children

Yampil, an Asiatic black bear, was visited by Ukrainian children at Five Sisters Zoo on Friday.

A bear left injured and traumatised after Russian shelling of a zoo in Ukraine has been visited by Ukrainian refugee children at his new home in Scotland.

Yampil, a 12-year-old Asiatic black bear, has been recovering from his journey and has been settling in at the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian.

That has involved lots of cucumbers, his favourite snack, and getting to know his new keepers.

On Friday, he received an extra special treat – as a group of of Ukrainian refugee children paid him a visit.

Many of the children are staying in hotels in Scotland. STV News

Tanya Balanova, from the association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, said it was an “exciting day out” for the children, many of whom still have loved ones back in Ukraine.

She said: “Many of these children… are still staying in hotels in Scotland waiting on a home.

“Today’s visit was an exciting day out.

“The children also prepared some thank you drawings for Yampil’s keepers.”

Yampil is named after the village he was found in. STV News

Named after the village where he was found, in the Donetsk province of eastern Ukraine, Yampil was concussed by shellfire when he was discovered.

Most of the 200 other animals in the zoo were killed in the attack.

He was evacuated through Poland to Belgium before finding his permanent home in West Calder.

Adam Walsh, from the Five Sisters Zoo, confirmed the park is looking to raise £200,000 to build a new enclosure to look after the bear.

“The zoo is now fundraising for a new enclosure for Yampil”, he told STV News.

“For now, he’s happy with his favourite meals and his new young friends.”

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