ALPINE–Bobbi Brink, founder and director of San Diego’s Lions, Tigers and Bears exotic animal sanctuary, departed May 18 to rescue four captive bred bears from outside Wilmington, North Carolina.
The sanctuary rescue team will make the 5,000+ mile round trip journey in their state of the art animal transfer hauler. Upon arrival to the rescue site the team will provide a thorough medical diagnostic for each bear before transporting them back across the country to the San Diego sanctuary, where they will be provided a permanent home.
This rescue has been generously made possible by the sanctuary’s members and supporters and lifelong animal advocate, Bob Barker.
Lockwood Animal Rescue Center has also played an integral role in this rescue.
“We’re lucky these bears are out of the pits and coming home with us,” said Founder and Director, Bobbi Brink. “It is nearly impossible to find captive bears homes in reputable facilities.”
The two Silvertip Grizzlies (Albert and Cherry Bomb) and two Himalayan black bears (Teddy and Baloo) are a family of captive-bred bears. Albert and Cherry Bomb were born at Cherokee Bear Park, a roadside zoo in Cherokee, North Carolina known for displaying bears in concrete pits in deplorable conditions. A lawsuit was filed against the facility in December 2013 for claims of violating the federal Endangered Species Protection Act. Teddy and Baloo were born at Tote-em-in Zoo, another roadside menagerie in North Carolina known for their questionable treatment of resident animals.
Bred, sold, traded and exploited for the early years of their lives- all four bears are victims of the exotic animal industry. There are estimated tens of thousands of exotic animals being kept in private hands in the United States today. All four bears are declawed. One of the bears suffers from neurological damage in his shoulder due to cramped confinement as a cub. The bears were taken in by a private couple and are currently living in a residential backyard. The owners are no longer able to provide the necessary care for each bear and are requesting the bears be placed in a more suitable home at an accredited sanctuary. The sanctuary has agreed to provide the four bears with a permanent, lifetime home at their California sanctuary.
There is no federal system set in place that regulates the ownership of exotic animals in the United States. This rescue demonstrates the need for additional legislation so bears, big cats and other exotic animals are not kept in inadequate conditions in the United States anymore.