When you find yourself trapped, it’s almost impossible not to panic. This is especially true for animals, who don’t have the means to take out a cell phone and call somebody for help.

When this brown bear was not trapped and suffering unbearable pain, he began to lose hope. Then something miraculous happened just in the nick of time…

When a bear was caught in a trap in the woods, it looked like there was no way to get free. He must have lost track of how long it had been since he got caught in a trap, hours passing in excruciating pain. The animal was left nearly blind, almost completely immobile, and hanging onto life by a thread. That’s when it saw a figure approaching…

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

The bear had been wandering in the woods by the Municipality of Suhareka near Kosovo when seemingly out of nowhere, a trap caught the bear’s paw and rapidly tightened around it.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

While brown bears have been classified on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ red list as “least concern,” the brown bear’s population has dwindled over the course of the past several years due to hunting. In Serbia, they remain a protected species.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

In 2002, the Serbian government banned the hunting of bears, but that hasn’t stopped poachers from breaking the law by trapping and killing the creatures for profit and personal use. Eating their meat, selling their pelts to the fur market, and using the animals’ fat for cooking is not uncommon. Traditional Chinese medicine has even employed the gall bladders of bears.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

While it’s unclear who set the trap, the bear was clearly the target. Wire traps are common for hunting bears in Russia. These cruel devices are made from a metal noose that is set in a bear’s path with the other end tied around a tree. When a bear walks into it, the loop catches the creature’s paw or leg. As the animal struggles to break free, the trap gets tighter and tighter, cutting into the creatures’ flesh.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

When the hunters return to the bears they trap, they check to see if the bear is still alive. If it is, the hunter usually shoots him. That’s why it was so lucky that, before this bear suffered a similar fate, he saw something approach him…

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

What the bear saw in the distance turned out to be two police officers! They were walking by when they noticed the immobile bear, trapped and alone. They immediately contacted the Bear Sanctuary Prishtina, a local organization, as they didn’t know how to handle the situation themselves.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

“We received an urgent call by officers from the Ministry of Environment and from the police,” the Bear Sanctuary Prishtina said on their Facebook page.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

The sanctuary sent over several members of their team, including veterinarians, as soon as they could.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

The team had the skills and knowledge to relocate bears in captivity, but wild bears were much more uncommon for them to encounter.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

Veterinarian Selatin Mjeku of the local Four Paws animal rescue organization joined the larger group of sanctuary workers. It was clear that this particular trapped bear presented a unique challenge.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

“Though our sanctuary has rescued and takes care of bears which were kept in captivity, this is a special case when we were asked by responsible institutions to rescue a wild bear,” the sanctuary stated in a Facebook post.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

That didn’t stop the team from urgently heading to the village and researching procedures for rescuing and treatment of this bear.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

The team needed to sedate the bear, because even though the animal was effectively unable to move, they still needed to avoid causing him more pain and stress as the vet checked and treated his injuries.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

The Bear Sanctuary Prishtina team “removed the trap from the bear and treated the wound,” the group wrote on Facebook. It was important to be thorough, because simply releasing the animal from the trap wouldn’t have addressed the long-term consequences that the creature may have suffered. The wires could have remained in his flesh and caused an infection, eventually leading to death.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

Selatin treated him with disinfectant and gave him a more extensive check-up. Soon, the bear was given a clean bill of health.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

They made the decision to leave the bear in the forest where they had found him, “in order for him to be able to go back to his normal life in the wild, where he belongs,” they continued on Facebook. By the time the animal woke up, he was able to stumble back home.

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

The sanctuary also reported that “The same day [in the late evening] we received a last confirmation from the villagers that the bear was successfully returned into the wild.”

Facebook/Bear Sanctuary Prishtina

It’s clear that the sanctuary’s team didn’t just work hard, but went out of their way to be thorough and ethical. The bear may not have known how to thank them, but we’re sure he appreciates it!