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Starving bears beg for scraps as they are forced to watch families dine at a riverside restaurant in Armenia (12 Pics)

  • Dozens of bears are being kept in cages as entertainment at restaurants and shops in Armenia

  • They are caught as cubs and forced to live in tiny spaces, often living off scraps thrown to them 

  • British charity International Animal Rescue has launched a rescue mission to free the caged bears

  • With the support of the Armenian government, the Sussex charity hope to rescue up to 80 bears

  • Pleading: A brown bear climbs on its enclosure across the river from a restaurant, staring longingly at the diners

    Oblivious: Seated with a view of the bear enclosure is a young family enjoying lunch at the restaurant in Armenia

    Begging for scraps: A  bear reaches out with its paw through the iron bars to get its claws on a piece of food left by a diner

    Heartbreaking: Keeping bears in cages is not an uncommon way of attracting tourists or entertaining shoppers in Armenia

    Longing for freedom: The bears at the restaurant are kept in a barren enclosure and forced to beg for food 

    Feed me: Many of the bears have lived their entire lives inside cages or small enclosures for the entertainment of diners, shoppers and bored commuters across Armenia

    Efforts: British charity International Animal Rescue has launched a rescue mission to free the caged bears of Armenia

    Caged: Another bear at a separate location in Armenia is sticking its head out of its cage 

    Mission: The International Animal Rescue hope to raise enough money to be able to rescue 80 bears

    Working on it: The images were taken during a recent visit to Armenia by IAR Chief Executive Alan Knight who was appalled at what he saw

    Cruel: Some of the bears are kept in small, barren cages, surviving only on scraps and filthy, stagnant water and standing on stinking mounds of their own faece

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