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