Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Meet the ‘real life Paddington Bears’

Posted: 10 November 2017. Updated: 10 November 2017


As ‘Paddington Bear 2’ opens in cinemas across the UK, Animal Defenders International (ADI) invites the public to meet four ‘real life Paddington bears’ who were torn from the wild by traffickers in “deepest, darkest Peru”. The endangered Andean bears were rescued by ADI, with the support of Paddington creator Michael Bond and actress Joanna Lumley, and given sanctuary in the Amazon rainforest.

ADI President Jan Creamer: “It is an absolute joy to see Cholita, Dominga, Lucho and Sabina enjoying and exploring their forest homes. Having suffered so much in their former lives, our ‘real life Paddington bears’ have a new lease of life, surrounded by nature and their own kind. Please help ADI look after these bears, and save other animals in need.”

Cholita, Dominga, Lucho and Sabina had all been taken from the wild as babies. Confiscated by officials, the bears ended up in three small, remote zoos without adequate facilities to care for them. Rescued by ADI, the four bears now live in Peru’s first government-recognised rescue centre for bears at Taricaya Ecological Reserve in the Tambopata National Preserve, where ADI continues to fund their care.

Elderly Cholita was the first bear to be rescued. Mutilated in a circus, where she was confined to a tiny cage, Cholita’s fingers were brutally cut down to stumps to remove her front claws and her teeth broken off. The stress of her captivity caused Cholita to lose nearly all of her hair. ADI’s mission to save her prompted support from Paddington bear author Michael Bond: “Bears, especially from Peru, obviously have a special place in my life. It is such a horrendous story. I very much hope that, with the charity’s help, Cholita will get the care she needs to recover.”

Watch Cholita’s story here

Just months later, Cholita got two new “neighbears” Lucho and Sabina, who were rescued from an illegal zoo where they had been kept in small cages, never receiving veterinary care. Launching an urgent appeal to rescue them, actress Joanna Lumley called for the bears to be given “the storybook ending they deserve.” Arriving at Taricaya on Bob Barker’s 92nd birthday, the award-winning US TV host said: “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday.”

Watch Lucho and Sabina’s story here

The three bears were joined earlier this year by Dominga, who had been taken from the wild with her sister. Officials confiscated the baby bears from the traffickers but, with nowhere for them to go, the siblings were placed in a small zoo. Sadly, Dominga’s sister died, the stress causing Dominga to suffer weight loss and severe alopecia.

Watch Doming’s story here

The Andean/Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is South America’s only species of bear and they are endangered. On the most-critical Appendix I listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), all international trade in Andean/Spectacled bears is prohibited. However, they suffer severe threat from illegal traffickers and hunters. Following the killing and mutilation of a spectacled bear in Colombia, along with a threat issued to kill more bears, ADI launched the South American Bear Pact, calling for a coordinated effort to save the Andean bear from extinction.

Sign the petition supporting this initiative

Donate and help care for Cholita, Dominga, Lucho and Sabina here

Adopt a bear here, the perfect Christmas gift.

© Animal Defenders International 2019