Fifi’s first 10 years of life were spent at a roadside zoo in Pennsylvania, where the Syrian brown bear was forced day after day to stand on her hind legs and perform confusing tricks to entertain visitors. When the zoo closed down in 1995, Fifi’s nightmare was not over–she and three other bears were simply left in cramped cages, nearly forgotten. For the next two decades, Fifi did not set one foot outside a barren, rusted enclosure.


Fifi before.

Then, in the summer of 2015, PETA heard about Fifi and learned that her owner wanted to “get rid of” her and the other bears. PETA workers quickly arranged for them to be transferred to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.

Although she was now safe in good hands, 30 years 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 Fifi could bounce back.

But she did! 🙂 

In just months, Fifi 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.

fifi after

Fifi after.

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 Fifi’s story!