Winston and Boo Boo: Best Bear Friends for 23 Years
Animal Stories from


PAWS Performing Animal Welfare Society
January 2018

The two bears at PAWS have much in common, having been bred for the exotic 'pet' trade.

Winston and Boo Boo are black bears who have been best friends since meeting each other at PAWS 23 years ago.

Bears Winston Boo-Boo

The two have much in common, having been bred for the exotic "pet" trade. In nature they would have remained with their protective mothers for at least a year and a half, learning essential survival skills. Instead, they were taken from their mothers prematurely, sentenced to live in miserably inadequate conditions, develop health disorders and abnormal behaviors, or worse.

Once identified only as "Bear #1530", Winston was kept illegally until local officials confiscated him.

Although still young, he was confined with older, more aggressive bears and suffered a severe bite wound to his hip. He was later transferred to PAWS, where he arrived limping and in poor condition.

Boo Boo is now 24 years old, was a gift for a young girl. Like other "pet" bears no longer considered cute and cuddly, he was quickly neglected. Boo Boo was left outside with a chain around his neck. Never enlarged or removed, the chain became deeply imbedded as he grew, almost strangling him. It was surgically removed right before he arrived at PAWS.

Today these elderly friends share a spacious, oak-forested area in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000, where they are rarely far apart. Boo Boo and Winston - our second-oldest bear at age 25 - can often be seen napping in "nests" of fallen leaves, or foraging for acorns together.

It costs about $10,000 a month to care for Boo Boo, Winston and the five other bears at PAWS, which is why we are asking for your support today.

We may not be able to change the past for these bears, but we can give them a life that is more natural and enriched, and work to end the exploitation of captive bears for display, entertainment and as "pets."

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