Video shows bear brothers starved to half their body weight and kept in cage as restaurant attraction

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A HEARTBREAKING video shows two bears who were found starved to half their normal weight in Albania after living off scraps and rainwater.

The Brown bear brothers called Henk and Eso are set for a new life in Scotland after they were rescued from a small metal cage outside a roadside restaurant.

The distressed pair, who are both three-years-old, were poached and used as an “attraction” – kept alive thanks to scraps fed to them by visitors and by drinking rainwater from puddles inside their cage.

In the shocking clip, Henk and Eso, whose weight had fallen to around 70kg – compared with a normal weight of around 160kg – can be seen pacing around their cage, clawing to get out.

Another clip also shows the pair wailing in hunger as they see food which has been brought for them by campaigners.

Their rescuers believe the bears’ mother was shot by poachers who then sold the cubs to the eaterie.

Since being rescued last May the pair have been looked after at a rescue centre in Natuurhulpcentrum, Belgium.

Henk and Eso in the cage they were rescued from.

On Wednesday it was revealed that the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, West Lothian, had agreed to give them a new home.

The zoo’s owners, Brian and Shirley Curran, announced the exciting plans yesterday on their Facebook page.

They wrote: “We have an exciting announcement to make. We have been asked by the International animal rescue centre in Belgium if we could re-home two young Brown Bears.

“The young bears had been kept at a roadside restaurant in Albania and were being fed by tourists .

The duo were half the weight they should have been when they were rescued.

“Our existing bear enclosure will require some modifications which we hope to start work on soon to accommodate Henk and Eso, who we hope will arrive in the Spring. You can help us with this rescue by your continued support of visiting the zoo.”

Henk and Eso were rescued earlier this year as part of a joint effort from animal campaigners Salviamo gli Orsi dela Luna, Four Paws, Animal Rescue Albania, APR, AKZM, Ministry of Environment and State Inspectorate.

The Belgium rescue centre said: “Henk & Eso are siblings and are approximately three
years old.

 

The bears could be heard wailing for food.

“They probably are victims of illegal poaching, something that still happens frequently in Eastern Europe where the brown bear lives in the wild.

“Probably their mother was shot when they were small cubs and they were taken away to be a tourist attraction.

“When they are to big, the bears spend the rest of their lives in small cages.

“The rescue organisation found Henk and Eso in a small cage next to a highway restaurant so that they could ‘lure’ customers in.

“They were only given the leftovers of the restaurant and could drink from small rain puddles in their cage. Both of them were really skinny, approximately 70kg.

“The organisation tracks these neglected bears and helps them to a new home.

“Henk & Eso were being regularly fed by volunteers of the organisation and were examined and chipped by a vet on the 13th of April.

“On the 16th of May both of them were moved temporarily to Tirana Zoo in order of the preparation of the CITES and transport documents.

“On the 24th of August they arrived here at our centre. They still were really skinny but now they are better and their fur is much better.”

Five Sisters Zoo is home to a variety of 180 species of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world.

They have also housed rescued circus bears and lions.

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