Posted: 6 September 2015. Updated: 17 December 2015
Cholita the bear was a sorry sight when Animal Defenders International first met her – suffering from severe hair loss, where she should have thick black fur she had none. Kept illegally by a circus in Peru, shut inside a tiny cage, Cholita’s fingers were cut down to stumps to remove her claws and her teeth broken to leave her completely defenceless. An elderly, endangered, spectacled bear, Cholita was confiscated by the Peruvian authorities and placed in a zoo until a permanent home could be found for her. But no home was found and when we saw her plight we vowed to save her.
Our expert team rescued 25-year-old Cholita in a 2-day mission, bringing her to the ADI Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue centre near Lima. As we worked on the construction of her forever home at the Reserva Ecologica Taricaya - a lush, natural jungle habitat complete with bathing pool and cave - our veterinary team provided her with the special care she needed, nursing her back to better health, helping her arthritis and breathing troubles. The benefits of her natural diet and warm water pool in which she could take some weight off her mutilated feet were very clear to see!
Thanks to the support of the public ADI has been able to rescue Cholita and provide her with a fantastic forever home. Located in the Peruvian Amazon, Cholita was relocated to her new home in an epic 3-day 1,000 mile journey across the Andes. She is now finally where she belongs and, with your help, ADI will continue to fund her care.
Cholita has been isolated from her own kind since her mother was likely killed when she was snatched from the wild as a baby.
ADI has already identified three bears who need our urgent help – please help us give Dominga, Sabinga and Lucho a better future, with their own kind.
Rescued December 2015!
Lucho (pictured right), who is 11 years old and was confiscated from a circus just like Cholita, and Sabina, who was illegally trafficked and is the youngest of the bears, aged 4.
She could be next!
Dominga (pictured right), who is 11 years old and just like Cholita has no hair, making her almost unrecognisable as a spectacled bear.
As part of our Operation Spirit of Freedom mission ADI has already saved over 100 animals from circuses and the wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia. With your help we can give these three bears the fairytale ending they deserve!