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Bear Sent To Wild Animal Sanctuary After Years As Ice Cream Shop Draw

HALLAM, Pa. (AP) – A female bear is on the way to a Colorado wildlife sanctuary after nearly two decades as a caged attraction at a Pennsylvania ice cream shop.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced Little Ricki’s release Monday, ending a legal and animal rights battle that drew worldwide attention.

The organization and four residents sued for the bear’s release in December.

RELATED STORIES: More Wild Animal Sanctuary Stories

They argued Ricki’s concrete enclosure at Jim Mack’s Ice Cream shop near York was inadequate, causing a decline in her mental and physical health.

Actor Ricky Gervais joined the fight last month, encouraging Facebook followers to sign a petition for Ricki’s release.

Shop owner James McDaniel Jr. said the outcry pushed him toward letting her go.

Ricki’s new habitat at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, features 15 acres of grassland.

LINK: Wild Animal Sanctuary

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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