ALPINE–Animal sanctuary Lions Tigers and Bears will celebrate the birthday of their very first ursine resident, Liberty Bear.
To celebrate the occasion, Bobbi Brink, founder and director of Lions Tigers and Bears, is sending invites to the community to visit the sanctuary, and to become a ‘member for a day.’ The celebration will take place this Friday during the sanctuary’s 10:15 a.m. member visit.
Brink says each animal at the sanctuary is a rescue, so the exact date of birth isn’t always known. Instead, sanctuary volunteers and staff celebrate birthdays on the day the animal first arrived at the sanctuary.
“The day they arrive at LTB, is the start of a brand new life. Most of these animals came from deplorable conditions, where they never received proper care,” Brink says. “Our goal is to provide them with the care and attention they require and rightly deserve.”
Liberty, a 270 pound, 7 year old California black bear was rescued by the sanctuary on July 4, 2009 after California Fish and Wildlife officials had to remove the wild bear, who was dubbed a nuisance, from the Angeles National Forest. Liberty, a yearling at the time, was entering campgrounds and stealing food from campers. This behavior is what officials call habituation – when wild animals become unafraid of humans. Officials spared the bear from certain death, and brought her to LTB, where she will remain for the rest of her life. The sanctuary is home to a total of three habituated wild animals (two bears, one mountain lion).
Liberty is a ‘poster bear’ for habituation. Humans can play a huge role in helping to keep wild bears and other wildlife wild, by taking precautionary measures to ensure they stay out of neighborhoods, and in the woods.
“Food is what attracts them- they follow their noses. Bears have an incredible sense of smell. They can smell as far away as 20 miles upwind.” Brink added.
It costs a minimum of $10,000 per year to provide basic care to just one bear at LTB. The sanctuary is home to a total of ten bears. The demand to provide these animals, who live up to 30 years in captivity, and eat upwards of 20 pounds of raw fish, nuts and produce each day, has never been greater. The non-profit sanctuary is asking for the public’s support.
“Across the United States, there are countless bears being kept in private hands, that have nowhere left to go. We are trying like mad to secure homes for these bears, but there are little options left,” Brink says. “All of the sanctuaries are full. That is why it is so important to try our best to keep these animals wild and free.”
To attend the event, guest must RSVP in advance by calling (619) 659-8078 option 2.