UPDATE: Victory! As the Chief Saunooke Bear Park struggled, a private benefactor offered to purchase all of the bears. The park quickly accepted the offer and the bears were finally retired to a spacious sanctuary. Read more about the victory and how the bears are doing now here.
Originally posted August 26, 2010:
After learning that a 9-year-old girl was bitten by a bear at Chief Saunooke Bear Park (CSBP) in Cherokee, N.C., PETA hand-delivered a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking that the zoo’s exhibitor’s license be revoked immediately. According to a USDA inspection report, the girl was scratched and had tooth marks on her wrist bone after being allowed to get up close to the bear to feed the animal Lucky Charms and cat food. Let me get this straight: The bear’s diet includes junk food and little girls. The incident was the second documented bite at CSPB in that week. Last December, a 75-year-old caretaker was attacked by a bear at this crummy roadside zoo.
PETA is working to close the filthy bear pits in Cherokee, N.C., and get the animals shipped to sanctuaries. The shoddy enclosures and the lax approach to human-animal interactions pose a threat to humans, and the bears live a miserable life that can’t remotely be termed “humane.” CSBP was recently cited for risking serious injury to animals by maintaining unsafe enclosures, feeding bears cat food and sugary cereal, reusing filthy food trays, and other violations.
Please ask the USDA to pull the plug on this dangerous and cruel operation.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor