Bear Necessities: Mama, cub find home that is just right at Black Beauty Ranch


Murchison animal sanctuary adds to its menagerie

Murchison, TEXAS (KETK) – A bear and her cub rescued last year by the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center (now called Project Wildlife Ramona) have a new home at the 1,400-acre Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison

The mama bear, named Jackie, and her cub, Russell, were captured after they had become too comfortable around residents of a suburban California community, rescuers said.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife relocated the bears three times but they kept returning. The bears needed to be placed in a permanent sanctuary and ended up in East Texas.

“Jackie and Russell can now safely live out their days here with no human interference. They are thriving — exploring their one-acre habitat, climbing trees, splashing in their pool and foraging in the leaves and grass.”

Noelle Almrud, director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch

Almud said the bears are settling in nicely since being moved there in October.

“The duo already has their favorite trees – the huge oaks with plenty of branches for exploring. They can see and hear the other sanctuary resident bears – Sammi and Eve – in their own nearby habitats and their caregivers hear them all making calls to one another. It is an amazing happily ever after,” he said.

Bears and other iconic wildlife are losing their natural habitat as suburban development expands across the country. Almrud said, “Wild animals are victims of humans encroaching on their world. Jackie and Russell almost lost their lives because of it. We encourage communities to take simple steps to co-exist with bears, which can be as easy as better managing outdoor trash cans so that  animals and people can stay safe and leave each other alone.” 


The Humane Society of the United States, whose affiliate the Fund for Animals operates Black Beauty Ranch, offers these tips on how to prevent conflicts with bears:

  • Make trash cans inaccessible. Bring them inside at night or buy a bear-resistant trash can or an enclosure for the container.
  • Enclose your compost pile. Open compost piles, especially those that include kitchen scraps, are an irresistible treat in bear country. Burying compost won’t work because bears will easily find and dig it up.
  • Recycle wisely. If you store recyclables outside, use enclosed or bear resistant bins. Persistent bears will break into even ruggedly built bins.
  • Keep your barbecue grill clean and as free of drippings as possible. Move the grill away from your house when you aren’t using it and clean it regularly with ammonia or bleach.
  • Rethink your bird feeders. In the summer, birds can make do with naturally available foods. If you do set up feeders, install them away from your house and be prepared to remove them if they become an attractant to hungry bears.

Communities experiencing bear problems can take steps that educate residents on living with bears. That includes providing community-wide education and resources on being bear aware:

  • removing attractants and requiring the use of bear resistant containers that secure garbage and recycling;
  • instituting fines for residents who provide food that may condition bears to human food;
  • and training field responders like police and animal control officers in aversive conditioning techniques and approaches to managing and correcting bad bear behavior.


Black Beauty is a permanent haven to nearly 700 domestic and exotic animals rescued from research laboratories, circuses, zoos, private pet ownership, roadside zoos, captive hunting operations, and government roundups. Residents include tigers, bears, primates, bison, tortoises, horses, burros and more.

The sanctuary is open to the public only twice a month for intimate prescheduled Ranch of Dreams Tours. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, tours are on hiatus until further notice. Visit

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