National treasure Joanna Lumley has launched an emergency fundraising appeal with Animal Defenders International to enable the animal protection organisation to rescue two bears in urgent need and return them to their natural forest home.
Threatened spectacled bears Lucho and Sabina have been living in poor conditions for many years, and have never received any veterinary attention. 11 year old Lucho was discovered suffering in a circus, while 4 year old Sabina is a victim of the illegal wildlife trade and was snatched from the wild as a baby.
Animal Defenders International has found the perfect home for Lucho and Sabina at an idyllic nature reserve in the Amazon. It is hoped the two bears will join Cholita, the ‘real life Paddington bear’ whose fingers were brutally cut down to stumps to remove her claws and her teeth broken in the circus. Cholita’s life was transformed thanks to the generous support of members of the public who were touched by her sad story and helped Animal Defenders International take her to a new life.
Long time supporter of Animal Defenders International, Joanna Lumley OBE said, “The suffering and abuse Cholita endured was so clear to see. Animal Defenders International has given her a happier life, but now urgently requires our help to rescue two more bears in need. Please donate now to give these bears the storybook ending they deserve.”
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Lucho and Sabina have been seized by wildlife officials and are now stuck in a private facility. Animal Defenders International is in talks with authorities to hand over the bears, but must have everything in place as quickly as possible in order for the handover to be confirmed.
Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said “We urgently need the public to dig deep to rescue these poor bears who have led a life of misery and return them to the forest where they belong. Please help us get them to their forever home at Taricaya Ecological Reserve and give what you can now.”
Back in their natural forest range, the bears will be able to explore and discover all the sights and smells of the forest in a protected environment. It is hoped they will befriend elderly Cholita who has not seen her own kind since she was torn from her mother as a baby – Lucho and Sabina will be Cholita’s neighbours.
In the next few days Animal Defenders International must raise £10,000 for the final building materials, transport, and food and veterinary care for Lucho and Sabina to join Cholita. This will be enough to get the bears to their new home and after that the organisation will need support to care for the bears for life.