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Update: Cherokee Tribal Elders Won’t Stop Until Grizzlies Are Free

Written by Chrissy Matthies | December 3, 2013

Update: PETA has learned that Cherokee tribal elders Peggy Hill and Amy Walker have followed through on their promise to file a lawsuit against the Cherokee Bear Zoo for continuing to harm, harass, wound, and imprison grizzly bears in virtually barren concrete pits. Citing the Endangered Species Act, Hill and Walker hope to save these complex, endangered animals from being tortured on Cherokee land. We wish them luck and will watch the case closely.

Originally posted September 27, 2013:

The four grizzly bears imprisoned in barren concrete pits at the notorious Cherokee Bear Zoo (CBZ) have gained two very influential—and compassionate—friends. According to news reports, two tribal elders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Amy Walker and Peggy Hill, put the longstanding PETA target on notice by announcing their intent to file suit under the Endangered Species Act in behalf of the grizzlies, who are enduring extreme deprivation on Cherokee land.

These bears can’t see over the concrete walls of their pit, let alone spend 18 hours a day foraging for food and digging in the soft earth, brush, and leaves, as they would in their natural habitat. Instead, they’re forced to stand on hard concrete, which can seriously injure their feet and cause skeletal problems. Visitors can buy kibble to throw at the bears, who spend their days begging for morsels of food. Mindlessly circling their prison, the animals are unable to take cover from storms and are forced to drink the dirty water that they also use for bathing.

Walker says it best: “The Cherokee Bear Zoo is an open concrete grave for these intelligent animals and they must be move[d] from the despicable facility to a place where they’ll [be] cared for, not abused and neglected.”

PETA has advocated for these bears for years, and we will continue to do so until the CBZ is forced to release them to a sanctuary, just as another PETA-exposed Cherokee facility, Chief Saunooke Bear Park, did.

What You Can Do

Politely urge the owners of Cherokee Bear Zoo to release the bears to a reputable sanctuary.

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  • Sierra Shasta says:

    Please release these beautiful bears to a special bear sanctuary ASAP for their sakes. They deserve to have nature under their feet, clean water to drink, fresh food, water pools to play in. Protection from the elements.Fresh air that they can breath that smells of nature, not concrete , urine and feces. Everything beautiful and special that they feel and smell as things they need as bears. Please let them spend the remainder of their lives in nature, not in a concrete prison. Please send them to the special bear sanctuary.
    On behalf of all of us who love and care about these bears, thank you. Give them the freedom and nature they want, need and deserve.

  • Anna Burman says:

    sent an email, they should be freed asap. please for their sakes.

  • Peg says:

    can you please release these bears to a sanctuary,i know everyone is capable of compassion,imagine how they hurt and lonely they can be,please,this is a christmas wish,can we make it a christmas miracle for them

  • Barbara Hoskin says:

    This is a prison of misery. These bears should be well cared for not kept in a barren, sensory deprived hell.

  • please free these poor bears to a sanctuary as soon as possible thank you.

  • LELYS CAMPOS, M. D says:

    Please be compassionate to this beautiful creatures and release them to a more natural environment where they have contact with nature instead of being surrounded with concrete. They should be surround with plants water access to fruits,etc.

  • robert davies says:

    Those elders are not only compassionate but acting upon it! Godbless them.

  • Dana Tea says:

    So grateful for the voices of those elders! Thank you!

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