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Cercado Osero

In 1989 in the Asturias region of northwest Spain, police were informed of a man living in a rural village who had killed a mother brown bear and taken the cubs to keep in his home as a novelty. The police arrested the man and he was given a jail sentence for killing an endangered species. The cubs, two females, were confiscated and taken to the headquarters of a wildlife conservation NGO where they were cared for by a team of biologists until 1996. The team named the bear sisters Paca and Tola.

Unfortunately, due to their extensive habituation to human beings, it was impossible to release Paca and Tola back into the wild as adults, since they would not know how to hunt or even interact with their own species. Another concern was that the bears would likely enter towns in search of food or company, and could potentially be dangerous due to their lack of fear of humans. It was decided the only viable option for Paca and Tola was to live out their days in captivity in a naturalistic setting under the care of veterinarians and biologists, and serve as ambassadors for their species.

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