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Apparently Confining Bears in Pits Isn’t Cruel Enough for Roadside Zoo

Written by Chrissy Matthies | December 23, 2013

After receiving disturbing pictures that show a large white tiger at the Cherokee Bear Zoo in a wire cage so small that he or she can barely take a few steps before being forced to turn around, PETA has sent a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

We’ve had the Cherokee Bear Zoo in our sights since we first discovered that the North Carolina roadside zoo is imprisoning bears in concrete pits so deep that they can’t see over the walls to the trees beyond. The pits are virtually barren except for apparently dirty pools that serve as both their drinking water and bathtubs. Visitors can buy bits of food that they then toss at the bears with their bare hands, possibly transmitting bacteria. The bears reportedly have no privacy and no way to escape rain and other inclement weather.

Captive Bears

Chief Saunooke Bear Park

Like the bears, the white tiger is forced to stand on a concrete surface that is unnatural to him and apparently must drink from the same water in which he or she bathes. And like the bears, in whose behalf we’ve been begging the USDA to intervene for almost a decade, the tiger has only a tire and a few branches to play with and shows typical signs of stress, including constant pacing.

Siberian Tiger Enclosure

What You Can Do

Cherokee tribal elders Peggy Hill and Amy Walker have cited the Endangered Species Act and filed suit against the Cherokee Bear Zoo on behalf of the four grizzlies, who are constantly harassed and harmed. Please add your voice and politely urge the roadside zoo’s owners to release the bears—and this tiger—to reputable sanctuaries.

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  • Raya McGeorge says:

    It is wholly inappropriate to house not just Tigers but any animals in this way. It is not healthy for the animals, in this case Tigers, neither is it humane. Further, in showing the public these creatures on display those responsible are, not only presenting an inaccurate picture of the lifestyle of wild animals,, but they are actively endorsing animal cruelty.

  • Nan Newall says:

    If we do not respect animals, then we cannot respect our fellow human beings and ourselves. The following quote from Fred A. Mc Gran sums it up – “Cruelty has cursed the human family for countless ages. It is impossible to be cruel to animals and kind to humans. If we are permitted to be cruel to animals, we easily learn to get the same pleasure from the misery of fellow humans.” Such a basic lack of understanding and respect for the dignity of life – all life on part of humans is the key to conflict, death and destruction.

  • Kamarria Wilson says:

    Animals shouldn’t be treated like the way they are. They deserve better. Please act and be the ones that stop this madness. We are the world changers, right? So we need to act like it and put a stop to it.This makes me so mad and angry!!!

  • Stella says:

    Sick. Just sick. I cannot believe the terrible, awful things we do to those poor creatures.

  • Laura Eifert says:

    This is sad & disturbing. Sick world.

  • Rosalie langley says:

    Please shut this place down !
    This is so so so cruel !
    Please think of the animals.

  • Joel Cox says:

    There must be a minimum standard which all zoos must meet, and this certainly cannot meet that requirement. As such, it must be shut down and the animals placed in sanctuaries or wildlife parks where they have much more space to roam and interact as they would in the wild. Please act NOW!

  • Alice M Kachman MD says:

    What does it take to make ignorant humans realize the cruelty they inflict upon animals? Rhetorical question as we supporters of PETA are never at a loss for these situations. Those responsible for this inhumane insanity must be punished. Public embarrassment may or may not work. History shows hitting people in the proverbial pocketbook usually does the trick. Those of us who agree with the philosophy of PETA are grateful for the hard work done by the men and women of PETA to bring these horrors to the light of day. We will continue to speak up for animals. We will not be silent. We will not stop until all animals are safe from the injustice of cruelty.

  • Sharon Lawson says:

    I don’t understand how the AmericanGovernment allows wild animals to be kept in these roadside Zoos it’s criminal. It is so backward in thinking for these places to exist and even more backward for people to be so cruel to animals. It’s not entertaining it’s cruelty.

  • susan.nollner says:

    please free these poor animals from this sad life-they deserve to be in a better place.they are not happy here and should not kive the rest of their lives like this.please have compassion for these helpless animals.

  • Jill Doetsch says:

    These animals need a comfortable spacious and up to date habitat.

  • nick sanders says:

    it astounds me that in 2013-14 people still think it is ok to see animals live in such unnatural confinement,it seems people are no more educated to the needs of animals and there environment,or would it be more accurate to say don’t care.so long as there is animals languishing in confinement there will always a war.

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