6 black bears to spend summer in Alpine after being rescued from roadside zoo

Volunteers took bears on cross-country road trip

ALPINE, Calif. - Six black bears made their way into Alpine Monday morning after being rescued in upstate New York.

Dora and Dasha are sisters and at about 3-years-old, they have been through a lot together. They seemed to enjoy feeling sand for the very first time. Then, they took a nice dip in their water tub and snacked on some fresh California fruit. They deserved it after being cooped up for the last three years.

Bobbi Brink, the director of the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine, said the six black bears were being used for a roadside zoo in New York.

She said the man who had them did his best but it did not seem to be enough.

"Private ownership… it just doesn't work," Brink said. "This takes a team, and it's a lot of work to take care of one wild animal."

State officials stepped in, but what could they do with a bunch of bears?

"They're not a wild bear, so they can't be put back in the wild, but they're still wild and they can't be tamed or trained," Brink added. "They're not pets, so they have no place to go."

There was only one option. They had a death date of June 6.

Brink and other groups such as the ASPCA got together to get them out.

"One life at a time, and we just try to do the best we can," Brink said. "We can't save them all, but we can… we can try."

They had a long road ahead. 

"We drove about 6,000 miles," she said. The cross-country trip took 11 days and their road trip snacks were a bit different.

"We make them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… big watermelons… things we can put that won't fall through the cages, and they just eat and sleep on the way home," she added.

Colorado will likely be their forever home, but they will spend the summer vacationing in southern California with about an acre per bear to stretch out and roam around.

When 10News asked Brink how she felt about saving those bears, she had this to say: "Pretty awesome. Pretty awesome because these are the lucky bears."

She said it costs about $10,000 a year to maintain just one of these bears. They are hoping the public will help.

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