Lone Star Adventure: Bear Sanctuary - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Lone Star Adventure: Bear Sanctuary

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For decades it has offered a home for abused and abandoned big cats, including some of the rarest species in the world. Now the facility has also started taking in big bears. In this week's Lone Star Adventure FOX 4's Richard Ray takes us to the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Wise County, Texas.

Rescued bears, orphans from Wyoming and Alaska, have transformed a sanctuary that for more than two decades has been renowned for some of the rarest big cats in the world.

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary opened in 1988 and has been under the current non-profit foundation since 1996 as a home for abandoned, abused and neglected animals. For years it was named the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary but the arrival of bears in 2004 sparked a name change. It is now officially known as the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary.

Organizers say tougher laws and better enforcement have slowed the trade in big cats, which in turn has lessened the demand for sanctuary space. At the same time, more calls are coming in about bears that must be placed or be destroyed.

Beginning this spring the sanctuary will open up its bear habitat for public tours. They have two five-acre tracts and a total of twelve bears now.

For more information about the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary please visit their website.

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