UPDATE: Oswald's bear dies after escaping enclosure during power failure; PETA responds

 Photo courtesy: Oswald's Bear Ranch; Sophie & Sassy in 2018 in their transport unit.
Photo courtesy: Oswald's Bear Ranch; Sophie & Sassy in 2018 in their transport unit. (WLUC)
Published: Jun. 19, 2019 at 1:59 PM EDT
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Oswald's Bear Ranch has released details on the death of a juvenile bear.

The bear ranch said "with a heavy heart," that Sophie, one of their juvenile bears, has died.

Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined a severe storm that knocked out the power to the juvenile bear habitat, which then allowed the inquisitive, young bear to scale the enclosure's fences.

Sophie wandered through the woods, foraging for food, and ended up in the yard of a nearby neighbor, who alerted authorities.

According to Oswald's release, "The officer that arrived on scene was unaware that the bear was habituated and not afraid of people. As Sophie approached, the officer euthanized her."

The USDA investigated the incident and determined it was an isolated occurrence.

Oswald's Bear Ranch said it's installed a new back-up power system to prevent anything like this happening again.

To check out a video of the transfer of Sassy, Sophie and Ashley to the Waterfall Habitat in 2018,


PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet issued the following statement on the death of Sophie:

"Yet another bear has died prematurely at Oswald's Bear Ranch, where bears have been trapped in a collapsed den, suffered a 'drug overdose,' and suddenly died from unknown or undisclosed causes, and half a dozen more have been slaughtered—as Oswald's told a state inspector in 2017, a 'mean' bear should be 'made into jerky.' Oswald's is a death trap for bears, and PETA urges all kind people to stay away."

PETA also said the company's "motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to use for entertainment,' and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—also notes that the USDA's own Office of the Inspector General has repeatedly condemned the agency for its ineffective enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, so the agency's failure to take action in response to this bear's death comes as no surprise."