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Bears from Helen GA tourist park relocated

12:34 AM, Feb 21, 2014   |    comments
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HELEN, Ga. -- More than a dozen bears in a popular tourist attraction in Helen, Georgia, have now been permanently relocated to Colorado.

The bears were transported last month to their new home at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg.

It was a collaboration of animal rights activists spearheaded by PETA and the Atlanta Humane Society that led the effort to close the Black Forest Bear Park, amid accusations that the bears were being mistreated by being forced to live in inhumane conditions.

RELATED | Bear tourist attraction in Helen shut down

It's an accusation that at least one of the park's business neighbors disputes.

"I was over there a lot," said Barbara Roper of Roper's Clothing Store, which sits next to the facility. "I'd go over there and feed Dakota, throw him bear feed, apples, and he'd catch it with his mouth. He'd climb the pole for you if you said 'Climb up.'"

Meanwhile, one of the bears that was relocated had to undergo surgery to repair damage to his elbows.

"She was rescued and will now live out the rest of her life at the sanctuary," said Rebecca Miceli, the Director of Education at the Wild Animal Sanctuary. "Hopefully it's going to be another twenty good years."

It is not yet known what if anything will replace the bear park now that it's closed.

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