Cholita, also known as the “real life Paddington Bear,” has recently celebrated one year of freedom in the forest. A year ago, Cholita, an elderly, endangered Spectacled bear, was rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and taken home to the forest from where she had been stolen some 20 years earlier.
ADI outlined the abuse that the elderly bear suffered while she endured a sad existence with a circus. ADI noted that Cholita’s fingers were cut off and her teeth were snapped off as well. Cholita lost her fur (from stress), and today, despite her newfound freedom, and life of leisure, she remains a “hairless bear.”
Thanks to ADI, Cholita in no longer in poor health, and she no longer spends her days and nights in a small, stark cage. ADI created a special forest enclosure for Cholita and she is now able to roam freely…be it lounging in a pool, or exploring her forested jungle habitat.
Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said “It is an absolute joy to see Cholita enjoying her new home, and the sights and sounds of the forest which she was cruelly denied as a baby.”
ADI has launched an appeal to rescue another balding lady Spectacled bear named Dominga, who is currently living alone in a small zoo in the Andes. Dominga is an 11-year-old female who is also mostly hairless as a result of the stress of captivity.
According to ADI, Peru’s wildlife department has given permission for Dominga to be moved near Cholita’s forest habitat. Before that can happen, ADI must raise thousands of dollars to cover a specialized habitat, relocation team, and other transportation related expenses – ADI warns that if they do not act quickly, there is concern that Dominga’s life could be lost.
Operation Spirit of Freedom
Cholita was rescued as part of Animal Defenders International’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a mission in collaboration with Peru’s authorities to enforce their law prohibiting wild animal circuses. ADI tracked down and raided circuses all over Peru, completely closing down the cruel circus industry and rescuing over 100 animals. Almost all of the animals were returned to their natural habitats with the bears returned to the forest, monkeys to the Amazon and over 30 lions were flown to a sanctuary in South Africa where ADI cares for them.
(Photos/video via ADI)