May 18, 2014 (Alpine, CA): Four Bears will travel cross-country to new home at Lions Tigers & Bears
Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of San Diego's Lions Tigers & Bears exotic animal sanctuary, departed today to rescue four captive bred bears from outside Wilmington, North Carolina. The Lions Tigers & Bears Rescue Team will make the 5,000+ mile round trip journey in their state of the art animal transfer hauler. Upon arrival at the rescue site, the team will provide thorough medical diagnostics for each bear before transporting them back across the country to the San Diego, California sanctuary, where they will be provided a permanent home. This rescue has been generously made possible by Lions Tigers & Bears members and supporters, and lifelong animal advocate, Mr. Bob Barker.
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 and have not received proper medical care in years. 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. Lions Tigers & Bears has agreed to provide the four bears with a permanent, lifetime home at their California sanctuary. Founder and Director Bobbi Brink states: "We're lucky these bears are out of the pits and coming home with us. It is nearly impossible to find captive bears homes in reputable facilities."
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.
May 22, 2014 (Wallace, NC): Lions Tigers & Bears Rescue Team Arrives in North Carolina
After traveling more than 2,500 miles, the Lions Tigers & Bears rescue team, led by Founder and Director Bobbi Brink, have arrived at their final destination this morning to rescue four captive bred bears who will be rescued and transported back to the California sanctuary.
The team was greeted on site by an early morning drizzle. The four bears were living in an enclosure in a residential backyard. The team coaxed each bear into their transfer cage, where they would spend the next couple of days, making the 2,500 mile journey back to their new home at the Alpine, California sanctuary.
The bears each displayed their unique personalities as the team worked to load each one into their transfer cage. Teddy and Baloo, Himalayan black bears, are a dynamic duo full of tricks up their furry sleeves. Albert and Cherry Bomb, Alaskan Silvertip Grizzlies, are inseparable and more docile than the other two bears, but still a bundle of bear energy.
The Lions Tigers & Bears rescue team was successful in getting each bear accustomed to their transfer cage and prepped for tomorrow's veterinary examination. They appear to be in good health, aside from some medical issues that the grizzlies face from malnutrition and extended confinement as cubs. The two were born in captivity and displayed at the Cherokee Bear Park pits in Cherokee, North Carolina as cub petting props and roadside tourist attractions before being sold off to auction, and eventually ended up in the hands of the private owners, who have now relinquished them to Lions Tigers & Bears.
All four bears will receive a full baseline medical examination tomorrow including blood work analysis, stool sample analysis, micro-chipping, dental exam and de-worming, if tests indicate the need.
May 23, 2014 (Watha, NC): Vet exams
The Lions Tigers & Bears Rescue team visited the residence of Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo yesterday and prepped for the baseline medical examinations that would occur for each bear today. The team arrived on site bright and early this morning to meet with the North Carolina veterinary team who would perform the medical work-ups.
Each bear waited quietly as the morning passed for their turn to be anesthetized in their squeeze/transfer cage. Each bear was examined by the Lions Tigers & Bears rescue team and the North Carolina veterinary team. Cherry Bomb, the only female bear in the group, was the first to be sedated, then Baloo, Albert, and last but not least, Teddy. After the sedative went into full effect, each bear was transferred into our rescue hauler to receive their exam.
We drew blood, took a stool sample, examined teeth and paws, did a full physical exam and inserted a microchip. The Lions Tigers & Bears rescue team safely and securely transferred each bear back into their transfer cage, where they could be given plenty of time to come around from their sedative and rest before they make their 2,500 mile journey home.
The baseline exams took several hours to complete. We are pleased to report that Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo are in great health. After multiple hours of rest and close observation by the Lions Tigers & Bears rescue team, Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo were loaded into Lions Tigers & Bears' state-of-the-art exotic animal transfer hauler yesterday afternoon, where they could rest overnight before the team begins the drive back to California.
The temperature-controlled hauler is fully self-contained and well equipped with features such as running water, propane generator, tools, and medical supplies for the bears (and humans - just in case!)
It is important to give the bears plenty of time to come around from their sedative and be able to get accustomed to their new environment where they will be spending the next few days. Each member of this bear family has their own personal transfer cage to make the cross-country trek. A big journey - and a bright future - lies ahead for these bears.
May 24, 2014: A travel day and some grocery shopping
The Lions Tigers & Bears Rescue Team hit the road yesterday morning, but not before making a stop at the grocery store to stock up on fresh produce for Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo. Did you know a typical bear eats up to 20 pounds of food a day?! (The average person eats around four pounds per day.) That is about 80 pounds of food per day between the four of these guys and gal. Bears are omnivores - their diet consists of a variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, fish, eggs, cooked meats, grains, etc. Needless to say, the team loaded up their shopping cart with a lot:
8 watermelons, 2 cantaloupes, 2 melons, 17 peaches, 8 mangos, 2 pineapples, 4 heads of romaine, 10 lbs. of oranges, 8 lbs. of pears, 5 lbs. of apples and a giant jar of Jif peanut butter as a special treat!
All four bears absolutely love watermelon. Watch Teddy eating his melon here!
The team made it all the way to Arkansas before pulling over to rest for a few hours late Saturday night. Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo are adjusting wonderfully to life on the road. Just a couple more days before they are home free!
May 26, 2014 (Weatherford, TX): Still Truckin'
This update comes to you from the highways of the Lone Star State, where the Lions Tigers & Bears Rescue Team has covered over 1,500 miles with Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo in tow.
Some of you may be wondering what life on the road is like when you are hauling four, 300 pound living, breathing balls of fur (bears!!) with needs to be met such as food, water and sanitary living conditions, not to mention emotional needs to ensure everyone is comfortable, safe and happy on the journey to their new home.
Stops are made often to check on Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo. Their travel hauler is temperature controlled and insulated to help drown out sound. The bears are fed daily and watered as needed at each stop. They are also given lots of praise and words of reassurance each time we stop to remind them that everything will be okay and their journey on the road is only temporary! In just a few short days this family of bears will be able to frolic and play in their new enriching habitat at Lions Tigers & Bears, and we can't wait to see this firsthand! Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo seem to enjoy seeing new faces (and even showing off a bit) at our stops along the route, and fellow travelers definitely enjoy seeing them, learning their story and ways they can help us stop the exotic animal trade and the exploitation of animals such as these four bears.
May 28, 2014 (Gila Bend, AZ): The Final Leg
Since our last update two days ago, the Lions Tigers & Bears rescue team crossed through three states (Texas, New Mexico & Arizona), soon to be four (California), covering 1,000 miles to bring Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo to their new home. Along the route home, the team has met some helpful new friends, all willing to pitch in for the sake of this bear family. At each fuel stop, fellow travelers come up to the rescue hauler in curious amazement, and occasional disbelief, that four bears really do stand behind those hauler doors, and are on their way to a new life at Lions Tigers & Bears. Being on the road and meeting people from all walks of life is a fantastic way to spread awareness of the work Lions Tigers & Bears does, and the perils that stem from the exotic animal trade. When people are able to see these bears firsthand and learn their story, they are able to make a connection to the greater issue at hand and are inspired to act upon this knowledge.
May 30, 2014 (Alpine, CA): There's No Place Like Home
Five days, eight states and 2,500 miles later, the epic journey for Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo has come to an end -- they are finally home! After a few short days on the ranch, this family of bears is already beginning to settle into their new digs. They will spend the next 30 days in quarantine, a standard protocol for all new arrivals to our sanctuary. Teddy and Baloo, the two eleven-year-old Himalayan black bear brothers, are clowning around and enjoying taking dips in their swimming tub. Albert and Cherry Bomb, the eight-year-old Alaskan Silvertip grizzlies, are getting accustomed to their quarantine area and are enjoying the tranquility of Lions Tigers & Bears.
This rescue could not have been possible without the support of so many kind-hearted and compassionate members, family, and friends of Lions Tigers & Bears - like you! This rescue is your donations in action, the feeling of achievement can't get any better than this! To know that together we have made a difference in the lives of four more animals in need of a better tomorrow is absolutely amazing. Thank you all! Every Life Counts!