“Trapped in tiny cages, some smaller than a ping-pong table, the bears had no water, sporadic food, and inadequate shelter from the weather.”
The animals, both 18 years old and weighing 130 kg, were freed after the zoo owner was convinced that they “deserve better than the small cement cages they were kept in for over ten years,” animal rights association “Animals Lebanon” said in a statement.
Named Homer and Ulysses, the bears were set to be flown out of Lebanon late Sunday, to be received by the Wild Animal Sanctuary in the state of Colorado in the U.S. before being released into the wild.
The subspecies that the freed bears belong to no longer exists in the wild in Syria or Lebanon, the UK-based Bear Conservation NGO told AFP. Homer and Ulysses were likely imported from Europe.