You only have cold concrete to sleep on, people watch you all day, and you’re fed scraps of food that you have to beg for. Where are you? If you said “jail,” you’d be correct. The name of the jail? The Cherokee Bear Zoo—and its prisoners are these beautiful and intelligent bears:
One of these bears is named Marge. In the wild, Marge would be able to feel the dirt beneath her feet and dig in the soft earth and leaves. And just as you love scrolling through Instagram on your phone and hanging out with your friends, she would be able to do all the things that she loves, such as foraging for different kinds of food and exploring.
But since Marge is locked up at the Cherokee Bear Zoo, she’s forced to live in a concrete pit that she and her fellow prisoners have to call home. These pits deprive bears of everything that’s natural and important to them—from picking a mate to making a den. Marge’s babies were even taken away from her right after they were born.
Anyone would go crazy if locked in a tiny room. Marge and her fellow cellmates are highly intelligent animals, but they have virtually nothing to do but pace back and forth, walk in endless circles, and beg people who visit this rundown roadside zoo for food.
It was always a struggle for me to stay awake in my early morning classes, but bears like Marge are active for up to 18 hours a day in their natural habitats and need to roam and explore.
So what can you do to help Marge and other bears at the Cherokee Bear Zoo?
There are several heartwarming stories about other bears who were once forced to live in pits, but have been transferred to a safe and comfortable environment where they can now do all the things that they love to do!
- For example, 11 bears had been imprisoned in concrete pits at the Chief Saunooke Bear Park, also located in Cherokee, North Carolina. But the bears are now enjoying the good life in the lush woods of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Boyd, Texas.
- With the help of The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, The Wild Animal Sanctuary, and the Atlanta Humane Society, PETA rescued 17 bears from what would have been a life sentence in miserable concrete pits in Helen, Georgia. They’re now roaming 60 acres of natural habitat at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.
- After a long and hard-fought battle by concerned citizens, PETA, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund,“Ben the Bear” was also rescued from filthy, cramped conditions at a North Carolina roadside zoo and is now living out the rest of his life at the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a beautiful wildlife sanctuary in northern California.
Your voice makes a difference! Never go to any zoo, and join us in asking the owner of the Cherokee Bear Zoo to retire Marge and the other bears to a sanctuary!
No chains. No cages. No tanks.