Many migrants now in Europe ran from bloody wars, devastating poverty and abject hopelessness.
But, does that mean they’re willing to jump into a dark, cramped space – alongside a polar bear?
Three men proved they are, climbing into the back of a truck occupied by a young polar bear named Nissan, according to a press release and video posted Thursday by Britain’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
They didn’t last long, though it wasn’t because of the bear.
Video from the ordeal shows a group of men – all apparent migrants – running up to the box truck and swinging open its two back doors before dawn Tuesday as it sat in traffic in the northern French city of Calais.
Inside, they caught a glimpse of Nissan in a cage that occupied much of the dark trailer.
One of the men ran away at the sight, while three piled in and hid behind the steel cage, assisted by two others who closed the door.
The hairy would-be escape ended when French police approached and, with the truck driver’s assent, opened the back of the truck.
Eventually, the three men clambered out of the vehicle as Nissan waved his claws and growled.
Circumstances regarding the migrants were not immediately clear.
Thousands have lived in camps near Calais, hoping to reach England, only 30 miles away.
Nissan, meanwhile, continued on a journey that began December at his first home in at Russia’s Izhevsk Zoo.
He later moved to the Moscow Zoo before earning his ticket out of the Russian capital – first by air to Frankfurt, Germany and then some 1,000 more miles by truck and ferry – for England.
The 22-month-old arrived later Tuesday at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
He joins fellow bears Victor, 16, and Pixel, 2, in the 10-acre Project Polar exhibit.
“We are happy now that we have Nissan here in great shape,” said Simon Marsh, the zoo’s animal manager. “I’m sure visitors will fall in love with him once he settles in and is ready to be out in the reserves and be seen by visitors.”
The hope, of course, is that those visitors will be paid visitors and won’t barge into Nissan’s personal space in the middle of the night, as happened in Calais.