She Was So Lonely In Captivity That She Lost All Her Fur

Andrea A.
18/3/2017

Dominga, a Peruvian spectacled bear, has had a tragic past. The 14-year-old female and her sister were taken from the Amazonian Jungle by poachers when they were both just cubs. The cruel people also killed their mother, most likely in order to sell the young animals to a circus.

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Source: Animal Defenders International

Peruvian authorities managed to save the two bears from their circus fate, but their efforts proved to be a double edged sword, as they were unable to rehabilitate the pair properly. Too young to be released into the wild, Dominga and her sister were confined to a zoo in the Andes.Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), explains that whilst these authorities had the best intentions, they simply did not have the means necessary to give the cubs all that they needed.

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Source: Animal Defenders International

Jan continues:

There was nowhere in Peru to place animals that had been seized like this, so Dominga and her sister were put into a tiny zoo in the mountains. One of the problems with a small place like that, and the environment they were in in the mountains, is that it wasn't their natural environment.
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Source: Animal Defenders International

Previously, the two sisters had been able to rely on each other to get through the tough times. Sadly, Dominga's sister passed away in a tragic accident four years earlier and this plunged the bear into a deep depression that was only worsened by her loneliness. Creamer adds:

Female spectacled bears are very sensitive and emotional. It's known that in captivity, when they're distressed, they will lose their hair. Dominga had also lost weight. So she wasn't eating properly.

Fortunately, things have recently started to look up for Dominga. A team from ADI, with authorisation from the zoo, has transported her to a new enclosure in the Taricaya Ecological Reservein the heart of the Peruvian Amazonian Jungle.

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Source: Animal Defenders International

It took a few days for Dominga to reach her new home, but once she arrived, Jan Creamer immediately knew that the journey was worth it:

When she came out of her travel crate … she literally ran towards the vegetation and the trees and the plants, as if she couldn't get there quickly enough. It was just so wonderful to see the joy on her face. She was so excited.
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Source: Animal Defenders International

The bear has explored every corner of her bigger and better enclosure and has even been able to make a new friend, Cholita. She too had lost all her fur after being exploited in a circus and then confined in a small and lonely zoo.

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Source: Animal Defenders International

Cholita and Dominga's enclosures are next to eachother, and ADI volunteers have decided to build a small tunnel connecting them, in the hopes of eventually introducing the two animals. For now, theys haven't met, as the volunteers prefer to wait until they are certain that the pair will get along.However, Jan explains that it is still significant that Dominga knows that she has a friend beside her, particularly after her sister's death. The president of the ADI hopes that this new environment will help the bear to eventually grow her wonderful fur back.

If you would like to help Animal Defenders International to continue with their amazing work you can click here to make a donation!

Don't miss the touching video of Dominga seeing the jungle for the first time in years:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtC43XUPU2Q[/embed]While some zoos may be educational and informative, animals were not put on this earth to be trapped in small enclosures for humans to look at and take selfies with.They deserve to be in the wild, enjoying their freedom and not suffering cramped and terrible living conditions for the sake of visitors.To find out more about what you can do, visit PETA's campaign to shut down zoos.

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