Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chief Saunooke Bear Park in NC Shuts Down! Eleven Bears Get New Home

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, located in Boyd, TX, recently became home to eleven bears of various species (two Asiatic black bears or Moon bears, three grizzly bears, and six American black bears). 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, when 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 eleven 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 the life they deserved. The conditions in which they were kept were publicized widely on the internet, and they were known as the “Cherokee bears.” After what must have seemed like eternity to them, a second chance found them. 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 where they can bask in the shaded forest, lounge in the breeze in a high tree, dig in the dirt, or relax in the grass. They will now live virtually as wild bears with all the conditions ideally suited to wild bears without any fear or hunger.

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. To see a video depicting the progress of habitat construction over the last three months, click here. 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, Bettie, Sarah, Crow, Puddin, Tank, Asia, Toby, Spearmint, Aggie, 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.

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