Best-selling children’s author and Paddington bear creator Michael Bond has backed a campaign by Animal Defenders International (ADI) to save a real-life Paddington bear called “Cholita” in northern Peru, whose heartbreaking story was reported by The Mail On Sunday.
Cholita was kept illegally by the circus, so the Peru authorities confiscated her and placed her in a zoo until she could be found a permanent home, but no home has been found. Cholita’s fingers had been cut down to stumps by the circus to remove her claws and her teeth were broken, leaving her defenseless.
She is an elderly Andean bear, suffering from severe alopecia, so where she should have thick, black fur she has none – her body is bald, so she is barely recognizable as an endangered Spectacled bear.
Michael Bond, the author of the bestselling children’s books said: “Bears, especially from Peru, obviously have a special place in my life. It is such a horrendous story. I very much hope that, with the charity’s help, Cholita will get the care she needs to recover.”
Cholita has just one chance: To be on a flight being chartered by ADI to take 33 rescued circus lions to a new life in the United States.
The 33 lions have been rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia by ADI in the biggest rescue and enforcement operation ever undertaken to eliminate the use of wild animals in circuses, which has been banned in both countries. During the mission called Operation Spirit of Freedom, ADI has rescued almost 70 animals and is now in the process of building homes for the animals and relocating them.
ADI recently undertook a surprise raid on a circus near Piura, northern Peru, that thought it had slipped through the net – between August and November ADI had raided circuses all over Peru. Working with the Peruvian authorities (SERFOR, ATFFS, Police) the NGO rescued three lionesses, two monkeys and Jan Creamer ADI President who led the rescue came face to face with Cholita in a nearby zoo.
Cholita is an Andean/Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) a species at risk of extinction in the wild.
Read how you can help: www.ad-international.org/CholitaAppealUS