Overweight Bear Confined In Small Enclosure Was Rescued & Is Now Recovering In Animal Sanctuary

Apr 09, 2023 by apost team

After pleas to then-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf from celebrity Alec Baldwin, Dillan, the Asiatic black bear, has been rescued from a Sportsmen’s Club in Union County. After the USDA had cited the club many times for providing inadequate veterinary care, Dillan has finally been relocated to a Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, where he is recovering from obesity and psychological stress.

In 2019, Dillan was a resident at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club in Pennsylvania, where he spent his days in a concrete cage with ailments such as arthritis, psychological stress, tooth pain, and severe obesity as a result of being fed scraps from the restaurant, according to a PETA article.

Despite the USDA having been on-site at the club for several inspections that see numerous code violations, including failures to provide animals with shelter or food, it took People magazine publishing Baldwin's letter to Wolf to make a change in the life of this Asiatic black bear. 

Baldwin's letter urged the Pennsylvania governor to release the bear to a wildlife sanctuary at no cost to his current owners. He mentioned that this is a follow-up to his first request, in which he initially called for urgent action because of Dillan's health and veterinary needs.

"Dillan suffers from life-threatening dental disease and arthritis, problems caused and exacerbated by his morbid obesity and confinement on concrete,” the actor wrote. He added:

"He's estimated to be at least 400 pounds overweight, and wildlife experts have said that he's the most obese bear they've ever seen. He exhibits signs of severe psychological distress and spends his days rocking back and forth in his cage, which is sometimes so filled with feces that he can't move around without touching it.”

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The letter went on to say that Dillan could be happy in the sanctuary running, digging, and swimming — a much better and freer life for the bear.

Thanks to the repeated effort, Dillan was relocated to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado at the end of 2019. Instead of restaurant scraps, Dillan now has fresh fruits and vegetables to eat along with way more fresh air and sunshine. He has stopped the rocking and shaking that he had repeatedly done at the Sportsmen’s Club in Union County. 

Videos and photos have shown how Dillan's life has improved since his move to the sanctuary, which focuses on rescuing many wild animals, including lions, tigers, bears, and others. In March 2020, the sanctuary uploaded a video that showed Dillan’s progress in the three months since he’d been rescued.

The sanctuary continued to post more updates on Dillan in the following years. In June 2022, a video of Dillan enjoying a swim in the sanctuary’s pool was classified as the “Video Of The Day!” In July of that year, the large bear appeared pretty content as he cheekily posed for a candid photo. One person commented, “My goodness, Dillan! You are eating well!” Another said, “My foster bear!! You rock that relaxation, Dillan!”

The sanctuary posted another photo of Dillan in July 2022 that showed him snacking on some peaches. Once again, people rejoiced in the comments about how happy they were to see the bear doing so well.

“He looks so much happier and healthier than when you got him. How nice!” one person commented. Another happily said, “A bear after my own heart.”


What do you think about Dillan recovering in his new home? Do you know of similar stories in which animals have recovered from non-ideal situations? Let us know your thoughts, and be sure to pass this on to others so they can learn about Dillan’s story!

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