Actress Cloris Leachman sent the owner of the park a letter, urging her to allow PETA to transfer a 23-year-old bear named Bosco to a sanctuary, noting that he’s showing signs of arthritis—which the 92-year-old herself suffers from.
“Anyone who suffers from arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases knows how every move can be excruciating,” writes Leachman. “I can personally attest to the pain that these conditions cause and can only imagine how life on concrete would be especially miserable. . . . Please, do the right thing for Bosco. Let him live his remaining days in a natural environment, and close the bear pit for good.”
A representative of PETA says, “PETA and its expert partners have a long history of safely transporting geriatric bears—including those as old as 30—to reputable sanctuaries. Bosco would be evaluated by a qualified veterinarian prior to his transport, and a move to a reputable sanctuary is likely his only chance at appropriate care and a habitat that will help to relieve, rather than exacerbate, his symptoms.”
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In response, Pymatuning Deer Park’s Facebook page says:
If you notice on the picture Peta has recently posted, the door in the back right corner (circled), is a door that leads to Bosco’s outside part of his enclosure. We worked with both the USDA and the PA Game Commission to build an addition that provides natural ground. Bosco is 23 years old & most likely would not survive the tranquilizing, sedation, caged confinement during hours of transportation, and the stress inflicted upon him for the sake of taking him from the only home and people he’s ever known to transport him to an unknown place. We appreciate the concerns that have been expressed. However, we will not let Peta mislead people and continue to harass our park with false information. Thank you.
Leachman’s letter to Rachelle Sankey, owner of Pymatuning Deer Park, follows:
Pymatuning Deer Park
I’m writing to ask you to consider allowing my friends at PETA to help you transfer the geriatric bear Bosco, who is currently alone, to a reputable sanctuary. Anyone who suffers from arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases knows how every move can be excruciating. I can personally attest to the pain that these conditions cause and can only imagine how life on concrete would be especially miserable.
The female bear who lived with Bosco suffered with arthritis and had terrible difficulty moving. Recent video footage shows that Bosco has started to show signs of this disease as well. The small pen that was added off his concrete pit just doesn’t provide him with the soft earth and grass that he needs to alleviate his aching joints. At a reputable sanctuary, he’d receive the highest standard of medical care and treatment needed and when he’d feel up to it, he’d have plenty of space to roam on natural ground. Instead of begging for scraps of crackers from visitors, he could forage for healthy foods as bears naturally would. He’d also have the opportunity for companionship with other bears.
In the last few years, several small zoos have recognized that bears need to live where they can have rich lives and have chosen to move these intelligent animals from concrete pits and cramped cages into reputable sanctuaries. Please, do the right thing for Bosco. Let him live his remaining days in a natural environment and close the bear pit for good.
This content was originally published here.