THE ‘world’s loneliest bear’ has died during surgery after finally being paired up with a male lover.
Heartbreakingly Jambolina had begun to live a happy life after being rescued from a brutal circus, where she was tortured and made to perform.
The 12-year-old was taken to Swiss sanctuary to live out the rest of her days and was shy and timid from her years of abuse.
After a lonely life of never being around other bears she was introduced to Meimo and it seemed love was in the air as the pair hit it off after just a few minutes together.
It was decided Jambolina needed an operation on her teeth to repair the damage caused by years of abuse and to be sterilised.
But tragically, after being given an anesthetic for Thursday’s operation, Jambolina suddenly stopped breathing and vets were unable to revive her.
Staff at the Arosa Bear Land said they are devastated at the news but grateful that for a short while she had a taste of the life that had been denied to her.
Her sad story began in 2009 when she was born in captivity in a zoo in Crimea where bears were kept for display.
After just a few weeks she he was taken away from her parents and sold to a circus.
She lived for more than a decade in the cage, having never seen another bear or been allowed to engage in any natural behaviour.
Jambolina was trained to perform tricks for crowds, using methods that animal campaigners say amount to torture.
After being rescued by the Four Paws charity she was sent on a 1,500 mile journey to her new home.
She was initially was nervous and scared when she arrived after years of being tortured and forced to perform for the crowds.
But she quickly adjusted to her new home.
After waking up from her winter sleep, the first that she had ever been able to enjoy in her life, she seemed energetic and ready to socialise and enjoy the Alpine paradise.
Meimo had been living at the same sanctuary ever since he was rescued from captivity from the Albanian city of Shkodra in 2019.
Scientific director of the Arosa Bear Land Dr Hans Schmid said despite Jambolina's shyness at first, it took only a few minutes for the two of them to bond and engage in a friendly bear fight.
An autopsy is expected provide further information about any previous illnesses that Jambolina possibly suffered of that might explain her sudden death.
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