Every year wild bears are illegally caught or trapped by poachers in Armenia. Once captured, most end up in small, barren cages in public entertainment venues including restaurants, hotels and roadside zoos, as well as petrol stations and even factories. They are used as a tourist attraction and to make money out of captive breeding.
In October 2017, working with Armenian group Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), International Animal Rescue launched The Great Bear Rescue campaign to help these suffering bears. It was believed there could be as many as 80 bears kept privately in cages across Armenia.