5 Sisters Zoo confirms rescued ex-circus bear ‘put to sleep’

Three brown bears were rescued from a travelling circus. Peggy, seen here was the first bear to be released into the holding sanctuary at the Five sisters zoo. Pic Ian Rutherford
Three brown bears were rescued from a travelling circus. Peggy, seen here was the first bear to be released into the holding sanctuary at the Five sisters zoo. Pic Ian Rutherford
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5 Sisters Zoo has confirmed that a rescued circus bear, Peggy, has been ‘put to sleep’ in an emotional Facebook post.

Believed to be the oldest of the three rescued ex-circus bears, aged between 30 – 32 years old, the bear had frequent issues when walking and had been suffering despite medical treatment.

Peggy was anaesthetised and given a detailed examination by a team of six specialist veterinarians who decided to let her go rather than suffer in pain.

The zoo also confirmed that the medical team had found an irreversible degeneration of her spine.

While paying tribute to Peggy, the zoo also condemned the treatment of performing bears and circus animals saying: “We can only imagine the suffering she went through during her 20+ years of life in the travelling circus. We know little of this time and can only imagine the humiliation and degradation that she endured.”

Paying tribute they wrote on Facebook: “We are so proud to know that we helped with their on-going recovery and rehabilitation and for over five years Peggy has enjoyed life in the woodland sanctuary.

“Thanks to the expert help from our Mentor and friend the late Else Poulsen, for the first time in her life Peggy was free to forage in the woods, swim in the pond, successfully hibernate and have a degree of freedom never known to her before.

“Given the right environment, it was amazing to watch the bears natural behaviours starting to emerge; making day beds, marking trees and learning how to socialise with each other.

“Peggy, you will be truly missed by us all.”