Save Bears Caged in Barren Concrete Pits


Target: Barry Coggins, Owner of Cherokee Bear Zoo

Goal: Release bears living in barren concrete pits and send them to a sanctuary.

More than 10 bears are currently held captive at the Cherokee Bear Zoo, a roadside attraction located in North Carolina. The animals, which include both grizzly and black bears, are forced to spend their days confined to barren concrete pits that offer nothing in the way of mental or physical stimulation.

There are four grizzly bears at the zoo. They live in two pits: one is 560 square feet and the other is 280 square feet, according to Citizen Times. This is obscene when one considers that, in the wild, grizzly bears have a range of over 500 square miles, which they explore for up to 18 hours a day. Due to the inadequate living space, the bears at Cherokee Bear Zoo are often seen pacing back and forth and walking in circles – both of which are signs of psychological stress.

A recent video taken of a bear pit at the zoo appears to show a black bear walking with a significant limp. PETA has since urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that the bear receives medical treatment, since the owners of the zoo apparently cannot be bothered to provide the necessary veterinary care.

The people who run the Cherokee Bear Zoo maintain that their animals are properly cared for and happy. But this is an impossibility. The only entities that can provide bears with an acceptable standard of living are wildlife sanctuaries. Please sign the petition below, urging Cherokee Bear Zoo owner Barry Coggins to release his bears from confinement and send them to a reputable sanctuary where they belong.


Mr. Coggins,

The bears held captive at your zoo must be released and sent to a reputable wildlife sanctuary as soon as possible. Bears are remarkably intelligent, emotional and sensitive creatures. In the wild, their habitat spans over 500 square miles, and they explore their environment for up to 18 hours a day. By confining them to small, barren, concrete pits, you are depriving them of everything that is essential to their physical and psychological well-being.

Please do not continue to exploit these innocent animals for profit. They deserve the opportunity to experience joy and fulfillment, which can only be provided by a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to their rehabilitation. I urge you to retire your bears to such a sanctuary immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett

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  2. Having one stop filthy roadside zoos is a thing of the primitive past. These bears are stripped of everything that is essential to them. The neglect and cruel treatment they endure on a daily basis is appalling and should be outlawed and banned. It is an old money making gimmick the owners use for tourists to gawk at while the bears pace in circles begging for food from them which the owners label as “entertainment.” Roadside zoos do not hold up to the modern ethical humane treatment for animals and should be immediately closed down and the bears released to a sanctuary where they can have their dignity and freedom back.

  3. free them from this concrete prison now.

  4. Leave it to the ignorant rednecks to do something this cruel. Too many people in this state aren’t any kinder with their dogs, using them as lawn ornaments. They bring them home, tie them up in their back yards and there the stay neglected and lonley until they die! Haven’t any of you people advanced at all over the last century? While we’re all born ignorant, you really have to work hard to remain stupid all of your life. I pray one day you find yourself in a small caged locked up for life!

  5. Lisa Zarafonetis Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared.

  6. Beth Knalfa says:

    AGAIN, THE USDA can’t do its job!! Demand Vilsack be fired. Do these businesses give out payouts to the USDA so they can stay in business?

  7. joanne Russell says:

    I would put the owner of the roadside zoo in a cage for a month and see how he likes it. I wonder if he might just change his attitude somewhat. Just despicable for such beautiful animals.

  8. Anita Culling says:

    These wild animals should be protected from evil ignorant heartless people. Please send them to a sanctuary. Where’s your compassion and soul. Do the right thing.

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