By the time Dominga, a spectacled bear, was rescued, she only had a tiny strip of fur left on her entire body. The stress of being isolated and in captivity was just too much for her to “bear.”
“She just has one strip of hair on the back of her skull going down her back, a bit like a mohawk, with a little bit more hair on her back,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), told The Dodo.
From all that she had been through, it was obvious Dominga was a fighter! When she was just a cub, wildlife traffickers stole her and her sister from the Amazon rainforest after killing their mother. Tiny and helpless, traffickers had most likely planned on selling them as pets or as entertainers but rescuers were able to save them in time.
They were both too young to be released back into the wild so they were taken to a zoo in the Andes Mountains. There was no other place in that area to bring animals like Dominga and her sister. The zoo tried to give them a nice enclosure but it was pretty barren.
For such intelligent animals, they needed stimulation and more room to wander. While they weren’t exactly thrilled, both bears did okay until one day Dominga’s whole world fell apart. Due to an unfortunate accident, Dominga’s sister passed away. The death of her only companion was too much for this sweet bear. She went into a deep depression and started losing her fur.
“Female spectacled bears are very sensitive and emotional,” Creamer said. “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.”
Finally, Dominga got the miracle she needed! Animal Defenders International (ADI) were allowed to take the bear and bring her to a nature preserve. After the long, stressful journey, Dominga entered her new home and explored every inch of her new surroundings. She was in awe of her new world. There were all these plants to taste and places to explore… But the best part was her new neighbor! Another spectacled bear named Cholita!
Just like Dominga, Cholita went bald from her sad situation working as a circus bear, then living in a zoo that couldn’t care for her properly. It seemed that these two were soulmates!
Although they are in separate enclosures, they instantly became aware of one another and they were both elated! So, the group built them a special, safe place in a tunnel where they could meet one another.
The rescuers will take things slow so they can safely acquaint the bears. But knowing that Dominga now has a friend, who shares a story a lot like hers, is a huge step toward getting this sweet, bald bear back from that very sad place.
I’m rooting for you, Dominga (and Cholita!)
Here’s more about Dominga’s rescue with ADI
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