Originally, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary was known as the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary, providing sanctuary for only exotic felines, not bears. However, in 2007, a very special bear changed the mission of our organization.
The Sanctuary caught wind of an American black bear who had been living in a 4 x 9 foot cage for 13 years. His tiny cage was inside a barn, with coverings on the top and sides. He had no view of the outdoors and had never, in his long life, set foot on grass. Once the authorities were told about the conditions that Bill, and a number of other animals, were living in, they immediately confiscated him. He was sent to the North Texas Humane Society until a proper home could be found for him. Some time went by and the Sanctuary heard that Bill had not yet found a forever home. We knew that we needed to rescue this special bear and give him a chance at a better life, and so, IEFS became IEAS.
When Bill first arrived at his new
home, he was in shock. It was the first time his dry, cracked pads had touched grass and dirt. He had never been outside, climbed a tree, swam in the water, or lounged in the grass. He had never even seen the sky or felt the warmth of the sun on his fur. Now, at IEAS, Bill could do all of those things anytime he chose. It took some time before Bill overcame his nerves and truly took advantage of what his new home offered him, which was entirely understandable and expected after living for 13 years in such cruel conditions, but with the hard work and care of Bill's new human friends, he has truly come into his own here at IEAS.
Bill has made amazing progress in his years at the Sanctuary, both physically and emotionally. He spends more time outdoors all the time and now loves to cool off in his pool, visit his Grizzly bear neighbors, and lounge on his perches. He is still quite shy of humans, understandably, but trusts his caretakers more every day and has even been known to visit with those he trusts most when they come to say hello.
We see the twinkle in Bill's eyes get brighter by the day and we are so happy that Bill can now live a happy life at IEAS. His story is truly one of our greatest successes and it is so gratifying to see for all who have worked hard to give him a happy, comfortable, safe, and secure life. Since Bill's rescue, IEAS has welcomed home 15 additional bears. We are happy to have extended our mission to provide sanctuary to both exotic felines AND bears, all thanks to Bill.