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Let’s have a tree party!

We’re often asked if the bears really put their past behind them and recover mentally from their traumatic years on the farms. The simplest way of responding to that question these days is simply to say, “tree party”!

If ever the bears can show that their lives have come full circle, that they are happy to be with other members of their species, free to explore, forage and play, it is when we are lucky enough to catch them doing exactly what they shouldn’t be doing in the enclosures – right in front of our Bear Manager’s eyes.

Despite the tireless attempts of our team members to protect the trees on site, clearly the bears run rings around them all. They love nothing better than showing how well they can unravel the rope holding bamboo strips in place that protect the trees in their enclosures – and then showing how well they can climb to the top!

Generally – and remarkably, these are our "physically challenged" bears in House 6, missing limbs from being caught in traps in the wild and now showing how an apparent "disability" means nothing to them at all.

Old favourites who have been with us for years, like naughty three-legged Somerset (who arrived as a cub in 2004, sponsored by fabulous Lee Gibbins and her Moon Bear Rescue group it the UK), are now skilfully showing the new youngsters how to break all the rules.

We can’t help laughing. The word went out recently on the sanctuary walkie-talkies that another tree party was taking place, and we all ran over to see.

There was Somerset high in the tree-top, gleefully stripping branches away from the tree and throwing them down to no less than 14 of his eager partners-in-crime. Hours later, a few stray twigs and leaves were all that was left from an afternoon of ursine fun.

Luckily for this story, our Bear Manager, Donata, was there with her camera recording the whole sordid scene of damage and destruction by a group of happy, delinquent bears that don't give a thought to their past.

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