Polar Bears Suffering In Carribean Heat

For polar bears, who normally swim up to sixty miles a day and roam across

thousands of miles of ice a year, life in captivity is typically

miserable. With their special adaptations to glacial cold, polar bears can

easily begin to overheat at temperatures above freezing. Yet the

Mexican-based Suarez Brothers Circus has been traveling throughout the

heat and humidity of South America and the Caribbean with seven captive

polar bears as its star attractions. Eyewitnesses report that the bears

are suffering terribly at the hands of their captors, beaten into

performing circus tricks while withering in temperatures that exceed 100

F.

Because polar bears are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act,

anyone who wishes to import a captive polar bear into the U.S. must prove

a distinct educational or conservation purpose. Yet, the U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service (FWS) recently issued a permit to the Suarez Bros. Circus

to import their polar bears into Puerto Rico, over the objections of U.S.

citizens and animal protection groups. Now, the Puerto Rican Dept. of

Natural Resources has filed cruelty charges against the circus after

rangers reported filthy conditions and no relief from 113-degree

temperatures. Additionally, USDA inspectors have reported that the polar

bears are being kept in their transportation cages for 15 to 18 hours a

day without access to water. Still, the USDA has yet to take any action to

help the bears, and many fear that the circus will be allowed to continue

business as usual after leaving Puerto Rico.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Before the Suarez Circus leaves Puerto Rico, it must obtain a

trade-related export permit from the U.S. FWS. Send your letters to the

FWS, urging the agency to deny the circus the export permit and to

confiscate the bears for transfer to an approved, more humane zoo facility

in the U.S. Send your letters to:

Charles S. Hamilton

US FWS, Division of Management Authority

4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Room 700

Arlington, VA 22203

fax: 703-358-2281

email: Charles_Hamilton@fws.gov

Please also cc your letters to the USDA:

Ron DeHaven

Deputy Administrator

USDA-APHIS

4700 River Rd, Unit 84

Riverdale, MD 20737

fax: 301-734-4978

email: Ron.DeHaven@usda.gov.

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