Five American black bears are now free from their abusive exhibitor and are happily making themselves at home at the beautiful Keepers of the Wild sanctuary in Arizona.
PETA has been vigorously campaigning for their release from The Great Bear Show and its owner, Bob Steele III, for years. Now, this cruel traveling act is shut down, and with the help of PETA’s funding, all five bears—Andy, Cindi, Brock, Bucky, and Barney—have been moved to a spacious, lush new habitat. As this sweet video shows, they’re already acting as bears should: swimming in their pool, nesting in their cozy dens, foraging, and catching afternoon naps under shady trees.
In Steele’s exploitive show, the bears were confined to barren cages, chained to chairs so that people could take pictures with them, and forced to perform confusing and often physically uncomfortable tricks, such as rolling on a barrel. PETA repeatedly tipped off authorities to the bears’ condition, prompting the feds to issue numerous citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Nineteen-year-old Cindi was repeatedly documented pacing, which is a sign of psychological distress; 27-year-old Andy was confined to hard concrete floors despite his painful arthritis; and 4-year-old Barney showed signs of an irritating skin condition for years and often seemed scared.
As this eyewitness video shows, Cindi cried out during a photo session, and Steele smacked her paw and yanked the chain around her neck, which is typically an indication that harsher physical punishment is used behind the scenes.
The Great Bear Show was repeatedly cited for failure to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and appropriate space and for risking animal and public safety by failing to properly secure bears during photo sessions.
PETA also contacted fairs and venues that were slated to host The Great Bear Show with information about the exploitive performances, and we sent action alerts to our millions of members and supporters asking them to do the same. Pressure mounted, and now—finally—the show is over, and Andy, Cindi, Brock, Bucky, and Barney will never endure another forced performance ever again.
Help PETA end other abusive shows by telling Castle’s Bears and Welde’s Big Bear Show that no one wants to watch sad animals perform stupid tricks.