Elderly Circus Bear Loving Her Freedom After Being Locked Up For 20 Years

An elderly bear who spent over 20 years in a circus is loving her life in a bear sanctuary after she was abandoned by her owner.

From an early age, Chada was exploited in a circus and spent most of her life on wheels, touring in many countries. The trainer of the circus then sold her to a private individual for traveling circus shows.

Eventually, Chada was abandoned in a small rusty cage left in the industrial zone of the suburbs of Kyiv, Ukraine, where she spent 7 years before she was noticed by activists who asked Save Wild Foundation / White Rock Bear Shelter to help save her.

The Ukrainian wildlife sanctuary, who rescues wolves and bears from circuses and roadside attractions, brought Chada back to their shelter where she can live out the rest of her days in peace. The bear, who is 25 years old, is almost blind, has almost no teeth and was in poor physical shape when they began caring for her.

When Chada was finally released into her own enclosure it was an emotional moment for her and her rescuers. Save Wild explains that it’s the first time the former circus bear walked on the grass or got to play in the water.

Chada got very busy exploring her new environment and now loves splashing in the water, snoozing on the grass and chastising the other rescued wolves and bears like a grandma when they get too noisy.

Chada is a Tien Shan (Himalayan) bear, an endangered sub species of the brown bear. The species is on the endangered species red list and there are only a few thousand of them left in the wild. They are typically smaller bears, but Chada is even smaller than normal because her growth was stunted by her life confined to a tiny cage.

Since arriving at the White Rock Bear Shelter in 2019, Chada enjoys sleeping, splashing in the water and walking. She recently went viral on social media for her sleepy wake up. Her rescuer shared the cute video on Instagram and wrote, “This is me starting the work week. Good morning. We’re all like Chada on Monday.”

Save Wild shared more about Chada in their own rescue video.

They shared that the Himalayan bear’s natural habitat is high in the mountains and they’ve been found living in altitudes up to 6000 meters above sea level (the height of Everest base camp.) They also shared that the bears are probably where legends of the abominable snowman (yeti) originate.

They wrote, “Chada had a hard life but remained a fighter. And she became the star of our bear family because of her character and thirst for life.”

Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links.