Public outrage at treatment of bear cub video leads to investigation of Indiana refuge

After a disturbing video was posted to social media this week of a baby bear cub appearing frightened, struggling and distressed, the United States Department of Agriculture announced an investigation into the Wildlife in Need facility located in southern Indiana. The advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed the complaint against the sanctuary’s owner, Tim Stark.

According to Indiana Public Media, Stark is alleged in a formal complaint filed by PETA  of mishandling, taunting and provoking the 14-week-old bear cub for the “public’s apparent amusement.”

“The cub screamed in terror throughout the presentation,” Brittany Peet, Esq. stated in the letter addressed to the USDA/APHIS/AC. “At one point, he dangled her by the mouth from his hand. Lifting the cub by her mouth in this manner poses a grave risk of danger to her developing teeth and to the muscles in her skull and neck…”

The complaint continued with additional observations and concerns:

“Stark eventually pried the cub’s mouth off his hand and held her toward the audience. The cub screamed in terror and urinated on him, likely from the distress. Her ears were back, indicating fear and distress, and her eyes were rolled back to the whites, which is a well-known sign of distress in all mammals…”

USDA representative Pamela Manns stated PETA’s complaint will be included in the investigation. This isn’t the first time Stark, however has been cited for multiple non-compliance violation. In the past he has refused to allow inspectors onto his property.  In September 2015, Stark was cited with several violations including using riding crops on tiger cubs. He never denied using the crops, but stated he did not harm the tigers and only used them as an “extension of our arm.” During the investigation, Stark was ordered to “cease the use of physical abuse to handle animals” even though he still claims to use the riding crops on cubs.

In response to the adverse publicity and allegations of animal abuse and cruelty, Stark posted on the organization’s Facebook page blaming the adverse criticism  on “mob mentality” and an extremist group editing ten seconds of natural bear behavior. According to their website, Stark describes his organization as “dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of native species as well as the provision of safe harbor to an array of Ambassadors from exotic and endangered species.”

Decide for yourself. Video below has not changed or edited Stark’s interaction with the baby bear during one of his shows:

Photos and YouTube video via Facebook and PETA video)

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Heart-wrenching view of bear ‘Hai Chan’ missing front paws suffering in bile extraction cage

Bear bile extraction farming has been used in traditional Asian medicine for thousands of years. Known to treat liver and gall bladder conditions because the bear’s bile contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid, in modern times both herbal and synthetic alternatives provide the same medicinal properties. Tragically, modern science has had no beneficial effects for female moon bear “Hai Chan.” For the last ten years, she has barely existed in the tiny, rusty cage barely bigger than her body. She lacks even the most basic care.

Hai Chan is believed to be one of more than 12,000 bears  kept on bear bile farms in China and Vietnam.  Still legal in China but outlawed in Vietnam, unfortunately legal loopholes still exist for the 1,300 bears kept as prisoners. In these cages where the bears are starved allegedly for better bile production, the excruciating painful extraction methods range  from “free drip” where the bears endures holes in their gall bladder to permanent catheters rarely cleaned and too often causing life-threatening infections.

According to Four Paws International, a non-profit organization based in Vienna, Austria, who provide for animals globally, Hai Chan’s front paws were removed years ago; the meat from her paws used in the so-called “bear paw wine” production.

“Like many other bears, Hai Chan lives mutilated in her tiny, rusty cage, lacking even the most basic care. It seems that she has even given up on her life already. We can’t say how much longer Hai Chan will survive, but we have joined forces with local partners Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) and World Animal Protection to form a coalition to expedite an end to cruel bear farming and hopefully help bears, like Hai Chan soon,” states the organization on their Facebook page.

Four Paws International is currently in the process of building a sanctuary large enough to accommodate the rescue of bears in horrific situations just like Hai Chan:

“Hai Chan’s home is a rusty cage which is not much bigger than her own body. The impression of her desperately lying in her cage broke our hearts when we first met her and it still does. We are currently constructing a new state-of-the-art sanctuary for up to 100 former bile bears in Vietnam and hope to begin rescuing the most desperate bears like Hai Chan this summer.”

Sign the petition to help end bear farming in Vietnam.

(Photos via Four Paws International)

Watch Hai Chan’s video here and help to end this brutal practice:

 

 

Heartbreaking: Baby bear clings to his mother after she was electrocuted by poachers

A baby sloth bear desperately tried to cling to his dying mother after she was electrocuted by poachers at the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. The ten-week-old cub was found crying and trying to nurse from his dying mother when rescuers from Wildlife SOS arrived.Baby bear clings to dead mother

According to the Facebook page for the organization, the baby was taken back to the facility’s base in Agra where he now joins 200 other sloth bears rescued from a variety of venues that had been forced to perform amid rampant neglect and cruelty. According to the Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, Alan Knight,  the organization who is a major supporter of Wildlife SOS, the bear cub is in need of intensive treatment and care after suffering the terrible trauma. It is not known how the baby survived holding onto his mother, while she was being electrocuted by a high voltage wire that had been rigged up next to a tiger preserve.

Sloth bears are protected because their species have been threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Tragically their claws and organs are highly prized in the practice of Oriental medicine. Investigators, with the help of tracker dogs, were able to find the equipment from the poachers responsible for killing the mother bear. Six men have been arrested and are now awaiting trial.

As for the cub, he is currently receiving medical and emotional care at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility.

(Photos and video courtesy of Wildlife SOS)

To donate and help more defenseless animals, please click here.

Check out the baby sloth bear’s video:

 

 

Video of starving sun bears in zoo sparks outrage

Undernourished and starving sun bears in an Indonesian zoo – appearing to be so hungry that they beg visitors for food and eating their own feces have been recorded on videos enraging animal rights activists.Starving bears

In video footage, recorded by the advocacy group, Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, several gaunt bears at the zoo located in the Indonesian city of Bandung, have stirred tremendous outrage throughout social media. Notably bears do not beg for food; one of the videos shows a heartbreaking scene of an obviously starving bear rushing over as visitors throw bits of fruit down to the animal. One of the bears was so desperate for food, he is seen on video defecating and then eating his own feces.

Reviews  from tourists of the zoo from Trip Advisor reflect the seriousness of the situation:

“Rusty cages, dirty place and really neglected animals. Some of them are very thin. Hell on earth for all these poor animals,” one of the comments stated.Starving bears 2

Another review stated,”Please do not give your money to this facility. The animals are dying of neglect. They are fed only on food donations, and when there are no donations they starve. The bears are surviving by eating their feces. A giraffe died there by ingesting plastic because it was so hungry. There is no veterinarian on staff and animals who become…”

Sun bears originate from forests in Southeast Asia and are currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Volunteers from other advocacy groups state the bears are only a fraction of what their healthy weight should be. Access to examine the bears physically has been denied by zoo officials. According to the Daily Mail Australia, the director of Scorpion, Ganung Gea, stated:

“When my team visited the zoo last week there was no grass or live trees on the floor of their cage. We saw a sun bear eating its own dung, but when we contacted the zoo’s officers, they told us the bear was medicated and we weren’t allowed to see it.”

Bandung is Indonesia’s third largest city with a population of over 2.4 million. It’s also one of the country’s top tourist hotspots.

Petition available by clicking here.
(Photos of starving sun bears courtesy of Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group.)
Warning: Videos are graphic and some audiences may find them too disturbing to watch.

 

Horrifying cruelty as Russian workers deliberately crushed brown bear to death with truck

A disturbing video has sparked an animal cruelty investigation as Russian workers deliberately crushed a brown bear to death by repeatedly driving over the defenseless animal in the snow with a truck. According to the Daily Mail, the footage, allegedly shot by one of the men involved in the outrageous cruelty, went viral on Tuesday and took place in the Yakutia region of the Siberian Arctic.russians-drive-truck-over-bear-1

It is unknown why the bear did not hibernate, however many have stated the brown bear was woken up from his den and taunted and was killed by shift workers as they chased the animal in deep snow. When the exhausted bear could no longer run away, the men in the heavy work truck chased the bear down and moved forward and backward trying to crush the animal. Still alive, the tortured animal tried desperately to get up, but then a second truck ran him over until he became trapped under the front two wheels. With not an inch of mercy, the men then hit the bear over the head with a crowbar.

During the video, one of the men could be heard shouting, “Squash him! Squash him!” and then squeals are heard as the truck crushes the bear. After driving back and forth over the bear trying to escape, the men are overheard saying, “It’s still alive.”russians-drive-truck-over-bear

The video has caused a mixed reaction, but more so an outrage as most viewers agree the fat layer on the brown bear seemed to have been normal, and the animal had been moving sluggishly to suggest that the men may have driven it out of its den just “for fun.”  A few others have  stated bears that do not hibernate can pose a serious risk to people as they can be aggressive.

The minister of Nature Protection in the republic, Sakhamin Afanasiev, stated on his Facebook page:

“I ordered the hunting department to conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate action. We will announce the results of the check.”

No matter what the reason for the brown bear being awake, how can anyone rationalize such cruelty? Such actions are appalling.

(Photo of brown bear crushed to death via freezeshots of YouTube video)

Graphic video and may not be suitable for all viewing audiences:

Former ‘selfie’ bear with chain in her nose finally freed

Just for entertaining humans,’selfie’ bears in Albania are kept in the cruelest conditions. One particular bear named Jeta caught the attention of advocates as her heartless owner paraded her through the streets with a chain attached to a ring through her nose.jetta-the-bear Tethered by her owner and dragged to all the popular tourists spots, Jeta was used as an attraction for visitors to take “selfies.” For the ‘selfie’ bear, there were no gentle words, no treats nor any kind treatment – Jeta was a commodity, and abuse was all she had known for the past 15 years of her tortured life.jetta-the-bear-3

Sadly, to add to her despair, the times when Jeta wasn’t being paraded around and used as a tourist attraction, she spent her days and nights in solitary confinement locked in a concrete enclosure as her painful paws were tightly chained to the floor.

Just one week ago, FOUR PAWS International teamed up with the Albanian Ministry of the Environment and local authorities  to rescue Jeta from the horrible conditions she had silently endured for years. Rescuers have now treated her medically, vaccinated and micro-chipped her.  She is scheduled to be moved to a temporary location and then then to be transferred to her retirement home at Bear Sanctuary Prishtina  in Kosovo where she will spend her days with other rescued bears.jetta-the-bear-5

Unfortunately, the years of neglect have caused Jeta to lose almost all her teeth, but she will be allowed to roam on 40 acres of a natural environment to enjoy, and for the rest of her life she will receive the best of care. No more chains for you Jeta – if only the other bears still bearing the same abject cruelty could join you in your freedom soon.

Please help other bears by donating here.

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(Photos of ‘selfie’ bear by Four Paws International)