By Shawn Chitnis

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Ten grizzly bears from Argentina made the move to Colorado last week. Staff at the Wild Animal Sanctuary are closely watching them adjust to their new home.

(credit: CBS)

Six female and four male bears traveled by plane and then were moved by trailers from Dallas before arriving at the Sanctuary near Keenesburg.

“They’ve adjusted really well, obviously they need to put on some weight,” said Kent Drotar, the public relations director at the Sanctuary. “We specialize in rescuing captive born, large carnivores, we probably have over 200 bears all together in the sanctuary.”

Drotar says in the case of these bears, they were living in a zoological park that had to close a few year ago. The facility is now an ecological park and cannot house non-native species.

(credit: CBS)

The bears range in age from 11 to 24 and can live up to 40. The sanctuary is planning to have them in their care for decades, moving them to another facility in the southeastern section of Colorado. This newer facility is located on 9,000 acres with a bear habitat alone of 50 acres.

“So what we’re doing is making it right for them as much as we can,” Drotar said. “We know they can never go back in the wild, but we give them the next best thing.”

The male bears are still getting acquainted with their new home, staff say they are not used to so much space. They are in lockouts, an enclosed area that gives them a better sense of security.

“These are all animals born in captivity, most of them come from pretty deplorable conditions,” he said. “What we’re doing is first of all, giving a voice to the voiceless and we’re also just making up for humanity’s shortfalls for how they were kept before. We’re giving them the best life possible.”

(credit: CBS)

The sanctuary will celebrate 40 years in January, a refuge for all types of species that require the care of humans. Alongside the bears, there are lions and farther down the sanctuary, you will see tigers as well. Each are examples of animals that were in need of a new home.

“We’re glad that they’re there, we’re glad we can give them a home and we look forward to them spending the rest of their lives with us,” Drotar said of the bears.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is located on 2999 Co Rd 53 in Keenesburg. It is open seven days a week until sunset. Visitors may get the chance to see the newest arrivals from Argentina before the bears are moved to another location, unless they are in hibernation.

Shawn Chitnis


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