Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Update: The Eleven New Bears at IEAS

The eleven amazing bears who recently found their second chance at IEAS have been here at the Sanctuary for over two months now. It's safe to say that each and every one of them is truly feeling at home here, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the inspiring progress they've each made. Through the help of a natural environment, proper nutrition, and our Emotional Enrichment Program, these bears have come leaps and bounds in their time at the Sanctuary.

Asia lounging in the tub
Tank and Asia, the two Asiatic black bears, found their favorite spots in their new habitat quickly, and since then, those spots have been the areas where these two feel most comfortable and secure. However, each of them has ventured far from these areas of certainty and explored what their home has to offer. Asia absolutely LOVES her water tank, which is situated beneath the shade of a tree, allowing her to relax in the coolest way possible. She will lean back against the side of the tank and enjoy the day! Tank has found a different way to stay cool. He has a comfy den area, tucked into some thick brush under some trees where he can stay cool, have some privacy, and feel like a bear again!

Puddin relaxing in his habitat
Tank and Asia's neighbors, Puddin, Crow, and Sarah, have formed quite the trio here at the Sanctuary. During the day, these three prefer to hang out near their holding areas, which is where their water tank is and where they are fed. They nap together in the shade of their forest area, taking turns inside their cave. Evenings are quite a different story for these three. Once the temperature starts to go down, they turn into explorers! They will independently wander, as confident as ever, around their 1+ acre habitat, usually picking the area farthest from the holding area to settle down and enjoy the environment they were always meant to live in!

Crow exploring her habitat

Rusty and Bettie
Next in the habitat are Rusty and Bettie. These two have become the adorable "couple" of the new bears. They seem to truly enjoy each other's company and we can't get enough of seeing them together. From the early morning naps they take together, cuddled up in their cave, to sharing a meal at feeding time, these two seem to be a match made in heaven. Bettie, the more playful of the two bears, is the perfect compliment to Rusty's more laid back attitude. We often see them at the far end of their habitat - Bettie playing with branches and logs at the base of her favorite tree as Rusty relaxes near by, keeping an eye on his favorite friend!

Toby getting a cool drink
Toby lives next door to Rusty and Bettie, and while he doesn't share the habitat with any other bears, we are confident that Toby prefers it that way! In fact, Toby isn't truly alone in his space. He has made a friend, and a UNIQUE one at that. An injured vulture, who we've nicknamed "Petey" has found his way into Toby's habitat. Unable to fly, Petey has been living with Toby for several weeks now, and the two seem to be getting more and more comfortable with each other every day. We've even seen them relaxing and eating within a few feet of one another. They may be an odd pair of animal friends, but it seems their relationship is mutually favorable!

Aggie running through the meadow.
Then, we reach the brown bears! Aggie and Bertha, the two females, are as adventurous as they come. These two girls spend time in their holding areas only to eat. The rest of the time, they are out being wild bears, running through meadows, digging big holes, playing in their brush pile, hanging out in the water, or napping in the cool shade of the forest. It is one of our favorite sights to see these two girls appearing from the nooks and crannies of their naturalistic habitat. It seems they have fully embraced everything about their home, and we couldn't be more proud of them!

Bertha taking a dip in the cool water.

Last, but certainly not least, is the big guy - Spearmint! This huge bear has a personality to match it, and he, like his female neighbors, has completely taken to his new life. He loves to dig and really loves the water! He was the first of all of the bears to wander into the woods and find the perfect, cool nap spot, and spends a good portion of the hot days there or in his water tank. When it comes time to eat, Spearmint really loves his meat. Sometimes, he will grab one of his favorite pieces, like a beef rib, and run off into the woods with it, as if he is taking his prize to enjoy in private! He is always sure to wander back to finish his food, of course! It's been so incredible to watch this big brown bear embrace a life he had always been denied in the past!

We can't thank everyone enough for the amazing support these bears have gotten. So many wonderful people have come to visit them, followed their progress, and become part of the IEAS family through their story. We couldn't be more proud to have been able to give these bears the life they have always deserved, and getting to know them each as individuals has been incredible. There has been such an evident change as they each transformed from deprived beings to truly flourishing souls as they become the bears they were always meant to be!

You can continue to support these incredible bears in their lives by donating to IEAS. Click here

Remember, all of these bears are available for ADOPTION! Click here for more info!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Exotic Animal Laws and Regulations

Today, the interns here at IEAS are taking part in the Exotic Animal Laws and Regulations seminar that we have each session here at the Sanctuary. During this informative session, the interns will take a look at the varying degrees of strictness for laws regarding the care, handling, and possession of exotic animals like those living at IEAS. They will also get to see where the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) set the standards for sanctuaries like IEAS.

There are a wide range of laws in the United States, varying within in each level of government. Those in possession of an exotic animal must by abide by all levels of law - federal, state, and city. Unfortunately, in many states, there is little regulation when it comes to exotics. This is due largely in part to enforcement issues, but several states have stricter laws than others. Some even lack state laws regarding exotic animals entirely. This website - click here - is helpful in looking into each state's laws individually.

It is always interesting, and sometimes disconcerting, to look into the laws governing exotic animal care and ownership. Often, the public is unaware of the laws, or lack thereof, surrounding exotics in their state. Unfortunately, eyes are opened to these concerns fastest after a tragedy occurs. Should you have concerns about the laws in your state, don't hesitate to contact state officials!