Last Friday, it was Balu’s turn to be rescued. Team members from IAR, FPWC and the local police department traveled to Artashat to take Balu into their care. A local Armenian TV crew turned up, too, and onlookers gathered to watch. But Balu’s owner refused to surrender her.
“The ‘owner’ was keeping her in shocking conditions of squalor and neglect — and yet he clearly thought those conditions were acceptable and saw no reason why the bear shouldn’t stay there,” Key said. “I imagine, too, that perhaps it was a matter of pride to him not to be forced to surrender his bear when so many people were watching.”
After some arguing, the owner finally agreed to release Balu, and the rescue team immediately got to work — they sedated Balu, and once she was asleep, the team entered to remove her from her cage.