Skip to Main Content

Expert Says: Move Suffering Bear

Written by PETA | April 19, 2011

Bear expert Else Poulsen flew to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to join PETA and concerned area residents in calling on county officials to uphold a local law prohibiting the possession of exotic animals and send a neglected bear named Ben to a sanctuary.

After reviewing footage of Ben’s behavior, Poulsen described what Ben was trying to tell us:

Ben is communicating with whomever is on the other side of the fenceline. When he is head butting the fence he is showing that he cannot move forward. He demonstrates that the fence is impervious to his biting and he cannot get out. He demonstrates that he cannot walk forward as he puts his paws under the fence. If Ben had understood that he could get out himself he would be doing these things with greater gusto, but he seems to understand that he/himself cannot do it. … Judging by the bite marks in the fence Ben has tried to appeal to others his wish to get out.

Ben has been kept in substandard, inhumane conditions in a cramped, barren cage at the Jambbas roadside zoo in Fayetteville, North Carolina—for years.

The zoo’s owner, James Bass, faces charges for violating the county’s exotic-animal ordinances, but after Bass went in front of the commission and asked its members to amend the law in an attempt to exempt him, the commission—without much ado and in a stunning display of favoritism—obliged.

Please ask Cumberland County Commissioners to send this curious and intelligent bear to the roomy and stimulating environment of a sanctuary—PETA has lined one up that is awaiting Ben with open arms!

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • Christina says:

    Local news story about Ben the bear at Jambbas Ranch

  • Patricia says:

    I wonder how much Bass paid the commissioners.

  • Vanessa Williams says:

    For pity sake Ben needs to be in the peta sanctuary, why allow this treatment to continue. These animals are not meant to live like that,where is your heart and compassion as a human being as commissioners.I livein the UK and there be public outcry to this.

  • P. Rollins says:

    Political agendas and animal welfare never seem to come out in favor of the animals????? I believe that Mr. Bass and the Cumberland County Commissions will garner much greater and kinder public opinion and support if a video of Ben’s release to a sanctuary replaces the tragic existence he had endured for how many yeas. Please do the right thing. “Cause no harm to any living thing…”

  • Lianne Muhl says:

    This is horrifying. To think that county officials would sanction this type of behavior is inexcusable! as was said above, this IS a sentient creature, capable of thinking and feeling, maybe not exactly as a human does, but that doesn’t make it less real. I am ashamed of what Mr. Bass and the commissioners of Cumberland County are doing. It is a poor reflection of them and gives the wrong impression of the caliber of their community. However, I don’t think that this is indicative of a lack of education. I think it shows a lack of morality and ethical standards…a lack of compassion. Those things are taught in the home by our families. One can be rich or poor, educated or not so well-educated, and STILL be lacking in those attributes. Cumberland County commissioners need to step up and DO THE RIGHT THING! That’s all there is to it! Let this bear go to the sanctuary, and stop allowing such atrocious things to occur! Thank you!

  • Mindy Grusin says:

    This is so inhumane, it makes me sick to watch the videos. I cannot fathom that you would not allow this bear and the other animals held captive to go to a sanctuary that Peta already has lined up. This is beyond cruel…it’s inhuman.

  • Anne says:

    Lets put James Bass in a cage for 20 years, and see how he likes it!!

  • Karen Redmile says:

    This is heartbreaking, all in the name of the almighty dollar. Come on commissioners, think with your hearts not your calculators.

  • Olga says:

    Please put an end to Ben’s suffering and its ill-treatment. Be human and have a HEART. Thank you

  • Olga says:

    Please stop this inhuman Ben’s ill-treatment. Have a HEART. Thank you.

  • Doreen Jodie McCrindle says:

    Is there a petition site that I can sign/pass on??

  • MeganAshley says:

    This is absolutely horrible. In Tenneesse, there were 4 bears kept in small cages. They were never cleaned out and had disgusting water. People would buy bread to feed them. They now clean it and it’s a lot prettier, but I still think it’s far too small for 4 bears. It really doesn’t make it right!

  • Karen Bohannon says:

    Please free this bear from these horrible conditions and let him live as a bear should!

  • denise johnson says:

    please give this bear the free, bear life every living creature deserves. would you want to live this way?

  • Jill Lindsey says:


  • marmiebear says:

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi…I need say no more!

  • Kim Weaver says:

    When will we learn animals do not belong in cages,especially for our entertainment.

  • Michele says:

    Please free Ben from this horrific situation,and let him go live in peace at the sanctuary where he can once again be a “Bear”!

  • dawn motes says:

    i can’t believe this bear is in this small cage ,,, let this bear go to the sanctuary that is waiting for it

  • Rosie says:

    Please, I beg you to please do the right thing and let Ben go to a sanctuary where he can live out his life in peace the way God intended. Please???

  • Abby says:

    This breaks my heart. There is a bear in the zoo in Casablanca, Morocco that has the same fate. Even though I am not a bear expert, it was obvious he was communicating the same message to me while I stood and talked to him on the other side of the fence during my visit there.

  • Samantha Wilde says:

    Please let this beautiful animal live out the rest of his days in happiness, no more suffering, please!

  • Debbie says:

    Poor Ben! Please release him and let him go to a sanctuary where he can have freedom and company of his own kind. You know its the RIGHT thing to do……….

  • Silke says:

    James Bass obviously doesn’t care about Ben, and he has enough money to buy the officials. Ben has done nothing wrong, GET HIM OUT OF HIS PRISON!!!!!!

  • chicagogirl says:

    Who does this?? It still stuns me at how ignorant and cruel people are towards animals and their suffering. Where is the empathy for this poor bear? And to think he has a place to go and STILL has to be tortured like this is beyond disgusting. I wish we could put those responsible in this cage for years and stare at them and see how they like it. I am so ANGRY!!!

  • Malin Lindstrand says:

    The world has changed and it is time to follow. There is no longer a need to keep these poor souls in captivity for others pleasure. Peta is offering Ben a haven where he can be what he was born to be-FREE! Help us help Ben and you to will be part of changing the world and making it better!

  • lisa says:

    I cant believe the laws you have in the USA you should hold your head in disgrace to even have allowed to have let this bear suffer aslong as he had and done nothing,the owner was charged back in January and the next court isnt till July so this poor animal has to wait till then???? So what a bear expert came in to say this bear is not happy, come on America it do’snt it dosnt take a bear expert to say this bear is unhappy etc any normal compassionate humane being knows this poor bear has been unhappy for along long time and should of been rescused years ago. American should be ashamed of themselves for letting animals like this suffer for soo long.

  • guanita maniscalco says:

    free bear please!!!!!

  • Philip and Barbara Burghardt says:

    Please send this poor bear, where he belongs, to a large and open sanctuary that Peta has for him. No exotic animals should be kept in cages or owned by people, as pets. Please help these wild animals now, give them the space they need!!!!!!!!!!

  • yolibeth says:


  • Gina says:

    It’s sad that it takes experts, and brave animal rights activists to get some people to understand that wild animals SUFFER in captivity. I don’t understand why some people can’t figure that out on their own. It’s a shame that they are completely blind to suffering when it’s right in front of them.

  • Kathy Kron says:

    The fact that you “altered” the law to allow this man (James BAss) continue the slow torture of this bear is beyond any sensible humans comprehension. You are the laughing stock of the country – “what kind of ignorant country bumpkin, good ole boys are running THAT show”. The vast majority of the public (who are in fact, yes, educated and enlightened and simply humane) don’t understand how you could not only NOT enforce the law as it stood (for a good reason) but that you actually changed it – to the further detriment of this bear. Bears are sentinet(look it up) beings and deserve far better than this. NO wild animal should be held in captivity, but once the dastardly deed has been done, and the animal cannot be released into the wild, then the least we owe them is an environment as close to “normal” as possible. This bear has been living in these horrendous quarters (I know you don’t see anything wrong with it and that is where your ignorance and especially your lack of empathy are showing) far too long. What is even more disturbing is that this Bass creep has been offered a new location for Ben, at no expense to himself and he still refuses. This clearly emphasises Bass’ true intent – he doesn’t give a damn about the bear, he only wants the money Ben will bring in. Do the right thing, uphold the law, and force Bass to relinquish Ben to people who care about him. YOu will forever tarnish your own names, and the reputation of your community with your stupidity if you don’t turn this around. Shame on you. It’s frightening to those of us who live in the rest of the country (the civilized world) that there are imbeciles like yourselves in the positions you are in. Disgraceful! I dread to think of all the unfortunate people in your community – obviously you are not compassionate enough, (or smart enough) to be in any position to make decisions that impacts the lives of ANY living being. Do the RIGHT THING – LET BEN GO TO A SANCTUARY AND PRESS CHARGES AGAINST MR BASS. THE WORLD IS NOW WATCHING YOU!

  • Marian Glass says:

    Please enlarge this poor bears dwelling & give him some things to play with. Thank U!