ALPINE, Calif. - A long road trip came to an end in Alpine on Wednesday for four bears that had been living in someone's backyard until about two weeks ago.
After 11 days on the road and more than 6,000 miles there and back, the team from the Lions Tigers & Bears animal sanctuary unpacked precious cargo. Their newest family members are finally home and they are big.
"They've actually done really well," said Lions Tigers & Bears director Bobbi Brink. "Teddy's a little tired along the way."
It was a very long way from back east for Teddy the bear, a nearly 500-pound Himalayan black bear and his brother Baloo.
The brothers and two silvertip grizzlies Cherry Bomb and Albert were all taken in by Brink at her animal sanctuary after being rescued. The four of them had been living in a North Carolina couple's backyard.
"It takes a team, you know," said Brink. "Having a lion, a tiger or a bear as a pet is impossible. These animals can kill you so they have to be properly contained."
Brink says the bears were bred in captivity and were doing OK physically but have had tough lives. Even before moving behind a couple's home, they had been exploited, traded and were living in a roadside zoo.
"It's terrible. It's barbaric. It's concrete walls. Literally, they're in cinderblock concrete walls. They can't see out. They can only see up," said Brink.
The bears will now have six acres to roam and forage at their forever home in Alpine. Brink says a new habitat will be created around them at the cost of $360,000.