Beloved Bear Sampson Passes Away
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

FROM PAWS Performing Animal Welfare Society
November 2019

Sampson arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in July of 2003, along with three other black bears, Cinnamon, Oma and Scarface and a tiger, Nelson Redford. The bears and tiger had been confiscated by authorities from conditions of severe neglect in a small, drive-through roadside zoo in Texas.

Bear Sampson

Sampson, an American black bear, was born on February 12, 1994. He arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in July of 2003, along with three other black bears, Cinnamon, Oma and Scarface (all since deceased) and a tiger (Nelson Redford, also deceased). The bears and tiger had been confiscated by authorities from conditions of severe neglect in a small, drive-through roadside zoo in Texas. The owner of the dilapidated facility was cited for numerous animal welfare violations, and the animals were taken into protective custody by the Houston SPCA until they were transported to their new, permanent home with PAWS.

Bear Sampson

Sampson lived in our Galt sanctuary until construction of the Bob Barker Bear Habitat was completed at ARK 2000. He had his very own large habitat filled with native grasses, mature oak trees, a large pool, and soft earth beneath his paws. He was especially fond of acorns and every Fall he would enthusiastically forage under the oak trees to pick up the fallen delicacies. Sampson was known for his very expressive eyebrows, and for sleeping on his back with his legs up in the air. He had a calm and gentle nature, and he was well-loved by his caregivers.

In late October, Sampson's appetite and energy level suddenly decreased and it was obvious that he wasn't feeling well. PAWS' veterinarian, Dr. Gai, called in experts from UC Davis to assist with an abdominal ultrasound examination to look for a possible cause for his illness. They discovered evidence of an inoperable tumor in his stomach. Veterinary and caregiving staff provided extra TLC, including a special diet and supportive medications. Sampson seemed to feel better for a few days after the exam, but his condition soon declined. When it was apparent that his cancer was aggressively spreading, the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to humanely euthanize him to prevent suffering.

Sampson passed peacefully from this life on November 11th, surrounded by many who loved him dearly. He will forever remain in our hearts, a gentle and expressive soul, and a very special bear indeed.


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