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Keeping animals for circus work has been a controversial topic for years now. Many countries around the world have enacted bans to prevent animals from having to forcefully partake in circus tricks. However, there are still many animals that are caged and forced to entertain. Napa, the polar bear, had been caged his entire life and when he finally got a taste of freedom he couldn’t hold back his emotional reaction.

20. Caged Bear

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Image: honest to paws

Napa is a polar bear that has spent his entire life trapped inside of a cage. In the beginning, Napa was born in a zoo, however, things quickly took a turn for the worst.

19. Sold Off

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Image: honest to paws

After being born, Napa was sold off to a Serbian circus, called Corona. From a young age, Napa was forced to learn and perform tricks for huge crowds. It was stressful on him and no one really knows how he was treated at the circus.

18. Wasting Away


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Image: honest to paws

Since 2009, Siberia has banned the use of animals in circus shows. Since the ban, Napa had been forced to live inside of a small cage. As he was of no use to the circus, they forgot about Napa and allowed him to wither away in the cage.

17. Information Spread

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Image: honest to paws

Soon enough, word of Napa’s mistreatment spread and FOUR PAWS, an international animal welfare charity was informed. The organization knew that they had to intervene as they couldn’t allow the poor polar bear to suffer any longer.

16. Legal Help

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Image: daily mail

However, in order to actually rescue Napa, the organization would need the law to be on their side. They quickly reached out to local officials for help. They knew, however, that the odds weren’t in their favor.

15. October 2016

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Image: honest to paws

Finally, in October 2016, FOUR PAWS got exactly what they needed to be able to intervene and rescue poor Napa. They quickly headed over to the Corona Circus grounds and rescued Napa. However, since there was a lack of facilities to place Napa in, they had to temporarily hold him at the Palic Zoo in Serbia.

14. Two Years

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Image: honest to paws

Unfortunately, due to many unforeseen circumstances, Napa didn’t have a permanent home until two years later. Finally, the day come and Napa was brought to his permanent home. It was more amazing than the bear could have ever imagined.

13. New Home

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Image: honest to paws

FOUR PAWS rescuers worked day and night with the Arosa Bear Foundation to bring Napa to his new home. The Arosa Bear Foundation happens to be a brand new bear sanctuary located in Switzerland. Napa would soon become its first new resident.

12. Sedated

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Image: honest to paws

In order to securely transport Napa, veterinarians sedated him to prepare him for the long trip over. His trip over to his new home included an air-conditioned ambulance and vets would check-up on him throughout the trip to make sure he was doing well.

11. Last Minute Problem

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Image: honest to paws

However, the rescue team quickly ran into a last minute problem. They had no idea how to transport Napa’s 1,200-pound crate from the ambulance to the cable car that would bring him in. Despite the issue, the rescue team refused to accept defeat this easily.

10. A Plan

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Image: honest to paws

Soon, the rescue team figured out the perfect plan to get him over! “Transporting [him] from the bear ambulance to the gondola was a logistical masterpiece. I am very happy that everything went so well,” bear expert, Carsten Hertwig, at FOUR PAWS said.

9. Finally Arrived

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Image: honest to paws

Finally, after traveling for so long, Napa arrived at the Arosa Bear Sanctuary in Switzerland on July 4, 2018. At first, he was placed into an adaptation enclosure so that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed. However, upon gazing at his new home, the polar bear was overcome with emotion.

8. Lots of Love & Care

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Image: honest to paws

Napa was immediately given a lot of love, care, and attention. He was fed fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. The polar bear was also given a nice shower, something that he hadn’t had in a very long time.

7. Breathtaking Views

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Image: honest to paws

As Napa spent time in the adaptation enclosure, he couldn’t help but be excited to be released. Everywhere he looked he saw open areas for him to run around and climb. It was a dream come true!

6. Let Out

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Image: honest to paws

Eventually, the day came for Napa to be let out. He quickly began to explore his new surroundings. He was in awe by all of the open space around him. After all, he had been locked in a cage for so long.

5. Swimming

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Image: honest to paws

Now, Napa gets to indulge in one of his absolute favorite activities: swimming. You can often find Napa in some pool of water getting his swim on! He has never been happier.

4. Official Opening

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Image: honest to paws

The Arosa Bear Sanctuary officially opened in early August of 2018. Since the sanctuary opened, it has taken in a few other bears. The sanctuary is set up to take in five more bears.

3. Hopeful

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Image: honest to paws

Napa and the other bears in the sanctuary have given the sanctuary hope that they are doing the right thing. Now people can come in learn more about bears while the bears are able to roam around to their heart’s desire.

2. Necessary

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Image: honest to paws

Napa’s easy transition into sanctuary life helps to prove a major point. Sanctuaries are incredibly helpful when it comes to rehabilitating animals that were previously in bad situations.

1. Happy Life

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Image: the dodo

Napa is now living a happy life in his new permanent home. He gets to eat, swim, and roam around to his heart’s desire. He truly deserves it after being locked up as a caged polar bear for so many years.

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