For Fifi, a Syrian brown bear, life could only get better: Her first 10 years were spent at a ramshackle roadside zoo in Pennsylvania, where she was forced to stand on her hind legs and perform confusing tricks for the amusement of visitors. Then, when the zoo closed down in 1995, she and three other bears were simply left in the tiny cages. For the next two decades, Fifi did not set one foot outside a barren, rusted enclosure.
Then, in the summer of 2015, PETA heard about Fifi and discovered that her owner wanted to “get rid of” her and the other bears. Stepping in right away, we were able to arrange for Fifi and her three ursine friends to be transferred to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, Fifi’s fabulous new home.
Although she was now safe, three decades of standing on a concrete slab—with no chance to roam, climb, or swim—had taken their toll. Fifi suffered from painful arthritis in her rear legs and was severely underweight. Her coat was thin and unkempt, and her eyes were sunken in. We didn’t know if she could bounce back.
But Fifi did!
In just months, she was a new bear. Her legs continue to get stronger every day, her eyes are bright, she is self-assured, and her coat is thick and shiny. And for the first time in her life, she is finally able to hibernate, something that bears instinctively long to do but can’t when their home is a concrete slab.
What You Can Do
All bears deserve the same happy ending as Fifi. But for five bears held captive in a concrete pit at a Tennessee store, life is no fairy tale. Please urge the owner of the Three Bears General Store to send all the bears to a sanctuary, and never visit any roadside attraction that has live animals. Tell others why, and share this video.