While many people worry that zoos don’t offer nearly enough space, it’s usually assumed that the experts who work there know how to tend to each and every animal’s unique needs. They’re professional animal handlers, after all. Sadly, not every zoo operates like that.
For instance, the former owners of a roadside zoo in Pennsylvania have come under fire for the way they treated the animals in their care—especially bears. Luckily, the bears finally received a chance at salvation, and the moment they found out was absolutely priceless…
Going to the zoo with your family offers the unique chance to experience rare and beautiful animals up close. Still, for as enjoyable as these establishments may be, not all of them are run the way they should be. One Pennsylvania zoo was a terrible example of that.
This roadside zoo was supposed to be a source of fun and entertainment for people all over the region, but the truth was much, much darker. In reality, it was more like an animal prison.
It was especially rough for four bears named Marsha, Fifi, Bruno, and Pocahontas. They were forced to spend their entire lives in a Pennsylvania roadside zoo, and now, their story is finally being told…
As a major attraction of the dingy roadside zoo, the four bears were most prominently displayed in these rusty cages. Besides the uncomfortable living space itself, there was also no shade, shelter, or water for swimming or cooling off.
A closer look at their living space showed they had only a rickety dog house to protect them at night. Not to mention, they were all kept from hibernating according to their natural cycle so they could continue to entertain zoo guests.
When the bears weren’t in their respective cages, they were being forced to participate in cruel circus acts. The “trainers” would place a mask around their faces and a rope around their necks, and then they would bring them out and force them to perform a routine.
By the time the bears were eventually discovered by animal rights organization PETA, they had developed serious health problems. They’d spent their days pacing their cages and shaking, which were signs of severe distress.
Thankfully, the volunteers from PETA had handled many similar cases in the past and knew exactly what to do. After rounding up all of the bears, they quickly transported them to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
It was a 24-hour cross-country journey, but the bears finally arrived at the animal sanctuary. They were finally let out of their cages and allowed to roam free for the very first time in their lives. It was a moment that few could ever forget…
It’s so sad that many people still think it’s okay to keep animals in such poor living conditions. Thankfully for these bears, they were finally getting their first taste of freedom. As it turned out, there were many people fighting to end captivity for animals like these bears…
A 2011 incident in Zanesville, Ohio, for example, led to the enactment of the Dangerous Wild Animal Act, which increased regulations on the types of wild animals people in Ohio were allowed to own. It wasn’t meant to punish the animals, but to protect them.
Recently, this law forced Stump Hill Farm—an establishment that branded itself as a rescue—to surrender nine bears to the authorities. The farm was accused of breeding exotic animals, which was not in line with the missions of rescue organizations.
These bears, which were a mix of black and grizzly, were in poor health. Some were malnourished, while others were extremely overweight. But the one thing they all had in common was they were all forced to live in cages for their entire lives.
Once they were rescued, they were held in a temporary state-run facility before they were placed in permanent care. It wasn’t long, however, before the staff learned that two of the bears, Molly and Ersila, were both pregnant. Soon, there were 13 bears instead of nine!
The bears would need to be moved if they wanted to grow up in good health. So PETA stepped in and brought the bears—all 13 of them—to the same Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado where the bears from Pennsylvania had gone.
It took a while for the bears to warm up in their new living space, but the staff was more than ready to manage their anxiety. At first, they were given an optional caged safe space, in case their nerves got the best of them…
With the proper care, however, the bears finally began to explore their new surroundings covering the sanctuary’s expansive grounds. It was like nothing they’d ever experienced in their lives before!
It should come as no surprise that they adjusted so quickly, especially since bears are incredibly adaptive animals. The staff was in no rush to get them acquainted with the outdoors, and they were determined to give them all the time they needed.
Luckily, Molly and Ersila—the two new mother bears—didn’t have to turn over their cubs, which was what would’ve happened had they still lived in captivity. In Colorado, they were allowed to stay together as a family!
It’s amazing that so many people are dedicating their lives to rescuing bears from captivity. Just see the difference on their faces when they were were discovered until the moment they learned they were truly free from their cages!
It’s so wonderful to see them take their first steps as free bears. Once they’re adjusted, they will be moved to 15-acre habitats where they’ll be able to live out the rest of their lives in peace.
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