Updated: 06/25/2014 4:37 PM
Created: 06/24/2014 9:18 AM WNYT.com
By: Abigail Bleck
GREENWICH -- Earlier this month, these six black bears faced euthanization. By next week, however, they'll be living in sunny San Diego.
"They're getting a good home and getting care for the rest of their life," said Bobbi Brink, the founder of Lions, Tigers and Bears, one of the animal aid agencies involved.
For seven years the bears have called the now-defunct Ashville Game Farm, outside Greenwich, their home. Because the facility wasn't accredited, there was a legal order to remove them. After that, though, there really wasn't anything that could be done with them.
"They can't go into the wild because they've grown up in captivity...and they are pretty docile," explains Hannah Shaw of Rock to the Rescue, another non-profit that's assisting.
According to the rescue group, DEC reached out to them about the bears after the Rock to the Rescue contacted DEC, back in May, to save the Albany bear that climbed a tree but later fell and ultimately had to be killed by wildlife officials. The Greenwich bears will spend a month in California before transfer to Colorado.
"We think it's important to find an accredited facility where they will have life time care that is humane," said Shaw.
The move comes with a heft price tag. Travel and care for the six bears from New York to California is expected to run $52,000.
"We said we're not going to let that stop us. We're going to write a grant to the ASPCA and they generously funded all $52,000 to make this possible," adds Shaw.
The bear convoy is expected to travel between 700-900 miles daily. After loading in Tuesday afternoon, the bears will spend the night, and the rest of the trop, in a climatized tractor trailer.