Two circus bears were ‘rescued’ by a Spanish NGO and brought to their ‘sanctuary’ called El Arca de Noé near Benidorm. The female turned out to be pregnant and gave birth to two cubs. The bear family was confined to a small and filthy cage at the shelter and lived under dreadful conditions. The bears did not get proper food and water, and didn’t receive any vet care. Besides to the bears, many other ‘rescued’ animals were confined to a life of suffering.
Early in 2009, Bears in Mind received a Bear Alert about these bears. After a thorough preparation, the bears were rescued and transported to the Bear Forest in Rhenen, just before Christmas of 2009!
After the authorities closed-down the shelter, two dozen lions, tigers, jaguars, puma, leopards, smaller cat species, but also chimps needed a new home. Most were relocated to Spanish zoos or shelters, amongst them the Primadomus sanctuary operated by AAP.
A new life for the bear family
In the Bear Forest the bears started a completely new life. First they had to stay in quarantaine to get used to their new surroundings and receive a complete medical check-up. The bears’ teeth were checked and treated. As a result of the horrible living conditions and bad food, their teeth were severely damaged, which meant that several teeth had te be extracted. Two bears received rootcanal treatments. The two older bears (Bruce & Ronja), one of them blind and one deaf, could succesfully be introduced in the Bear Forest in July 2010 where they truly enjoyed the space, the pond and the company of the other bears! The two young bears, Pepe and Pedro, were relocated to bear sanctuaries in Germany.
Unfortunately, old bear Bruce died in the summer of 2011. He had a fantastic year before he passed away. He loved swimming and played a lot with the other, much younger, bears of the Bear Forest, despite the fact that he was blind. Bear Ronja died at the end of 2012 due to a brain tumor.