This piece originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
World Animal Protection has responded to the desperate plea to save two 20-year old bears from years of confinement in a barren cage in the 'Olympic capital.' There has been outrage from people across the globe who see the suffering of these two innocent bears as abhorrent and unacceptable.
This week, to mark World Wildlife Day, we have the opportunity to consider what we can do to protect not just these two bears, but the millions of wild animals that suffer as a result of the international wildlife trade and their subsequent exploitation at the hands of the entertainment industry.
I've been reflecting on the power and importance of the individual animal and on why I believe conservation is a less effective approach when it fails to encompass animal welfare concerns.
Animals like the two bears in Sochi, Russia, have been held in captivity since they were cubs and living (if you can call it that) in a filthy, rubbish-strewn bunker for the amusement of guests at a local restaurant. I'm determined that we will get the bears relocated to our partner organization Asociata Milioane de Prieteni, where the bears can spend the rest of their lives in comfort and dignity at their sanctuary in Romania. We're currently appealing to the authorities to work with us to free these bears.