Warning to Grand Teton: Bear Cubs Don’t Belong at Shady Roadside Zoo

PETA Calls On National Park Service Not to Send Bears to Abusive Facility

For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Jackson, Wyo.

This morning, PETA fired off a letter to Grand Teton National Park and National Park Service officials urging them not to send any more wild bear cubs to the Michigan roadside zoo Oswald’s Bear Ranch—which is owned and operated by notorious animal exhibitor Dean Oswald—following Grand Teton’s shipment of two bear cubs there this fall.

In the letter, PETA points to Oswald’s long and well-documented history of forcing cubs to pose for photos with visitors, causing the vulnerable young animals extreme distress. Several bears held there have died prematurely—including one orphaned cub, who died at just 2 years old—and the facility has slaughtered at least six bears and euthanized at least one other for being “mean.” An Oswald’s representative told the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration that Oswald’s believes that a “mean” bear should be “made into jerky.” Despite claiming to be primarily a rescue facility for orphaned bears, Oswald’s has bred 13 cubs and purchased or received 60 others from breeders in the past 22 years—and prior to the Grand Teton transfer, it took in only one orphaned cub in the last decade.

“If Wyoming authorities had known that Oswald’s Bear Ranch was a bear-killing tourist trap, they likely wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA has helped to move dozens of bears in dire straits to reputable facilities and is offering to work with the National Park Service to ensure that no other bear is sentenced to suffer at this despicable operation.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that shady dealings are the norm at Oswald’s. In addition to acquiring bears from breeders while portraying itself as a rescue organization for orphaned cubs, in 2013, the roadside zoo misled lawmakers into believing that it regularly received cubs from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources—even though the agency hadn’t placed cubs there since 2005 as a matter of policy.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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