After many years of hardship, these incredible bears found their way out of the bear pits, located at the Chief Saunooke Bear Park in Sylva, NC, after the park was finally shut down. The closing of this facility meant success and hope for numerous individuals and organizations who have dedicated countless hours to its closure and to the rescue of these amazing animals. For so long, the bears had been kept in
deplorable conditions, living in concrete pits below the surface of the ground. They never had the chance to step foot on grass, climb a tree, or enjoy the shade of forest brush. Having only the ability to stare straight up at the sky and the faces of those throwing bits of food at them, these bears were denied their basic instincts and a life they deserved.
Thanks to a generous donor from California and the efforts of so many, they will live out the remainder of their lives in a large, naturalistic habitat at IEAS. Now, each bear enjoys a large, natural habitat that consists of trees, vines, thickets, meadows and everything one would find in a typical brown bear or black bear habitat. These bears are now able to enjoy the life they deserved from the beginning…a life of freedom. One where they can now act as wild bears by climbing trees, digging for grubs, digging dens, running and playing, and enjoying a normal life as a bear.
IEAS was allotted 90 days to complete the approximately eight acre habitat for the new bears, but thanks to dedicated employees, contractors, and volunteers working seven days a week, the bears arrived at the Sanctuary just 78 days after the construction began. After the placement of 2.5 miles of piping and 1.5 miles of fencing, plus the use of almost 750 pounds of welding rods, the six habitats were completed. Each habitat is over one acre in size and provides the resident bears with a natural home, complete with innumerable trees to climb, brush and thickets to venture through, and even ponds and water tubs in which to cool off. It is in these habitats that these special animals will be able to become bears for the first time and exhibit and experience all the things wild bears are meant to experience.
IEAS is truly grateful for the assistance of so many in this effort to get these amazing bears out of terrible conditions and ready to start their new lives. Thank you to Pat Craig and the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado for transporting the bears to the Sanctuary. Thank you to Scott Scherb and Affordable Fencing in Decatur, TX for helping complete the construction quickly and efficiently . Finally, thank you to all of those who restlessly fought for these bears to be given a second chance. Their new lives would never be possible without the perseverence and encouragement of their supporters. We hope that you will all support Rusty
, and Bertha
in their journey on a natural life at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary!
We, of course, need the support
of the public to be able to give them the lives they deserve for the approximately 30 year life span of a bear. They deserve all the help they can receive, and those of you that have a part in their great future will feel a satisfaction that can hardly be equaled when you see them or their photos and know you had a part to play.