Rest in Peace, Lovely Leela
It is with great sadness that we share that Leela, one of the resident bears at our partner sanctuary in Pakistan, has passed away.
After 8 peaceful years spent as living at Balkasar bear sanctuary, Leela passed away as a result of a parasitic infection. Despite the best efforts of the sanctuary's vets, sadly, she wasn't able to fight off her illness and passed away at the age of 16.
Before being surrendered to the sanctuary in 2011, Leela had spent several years being forced to fight with dogs. Her vision was severely impaired, the claws on her hind limbs were cut and her front teeth were likely ripped out when she was younger.
Life in the sanctuary
When Leela arrived at Balkasar, she immediately felt comfortable in her new home and put on some healthy weight. She loved digging, hanging by the pool and spending time with other bears - even if her blindless sometimes brought her to take some alone time. She shared a special bond with another female bear named Bhoori. They both survived a tragic past being used as bait bears in dog fights. Perhaps that's what made their friendship so strong?
Leela and Bhoori would often explore and play together, and recently gave staff a bit of a scare. One day during routine checks, staff members weren't able to see Leela anywhere - with the enclosure being lush and dense with vegetation, she was very hard to spot. After a thorough search, they found her sleeping soundly in a den she built herself as a sort of hibernation shelter, with Brave Bhoori sitting outside, keeping watch over her as she slept, just like loving sisters.
Forever in our hearts
We are very glad that Leela was able to out the rest of her life in the peace and tranquillity of Balkasar sanctuary, all thanks to people like you. She was a sweet, friendly bear, and she will be sadly missed.
Lovely Leela - 2003-2019
While Leela will always hold a special place in our hearts, there are other bears that urgently need our care.
If you've got room for a rescued bear, please consider adopting a bear like Leela today from just £1 a week. You don't need a big house. Just a big heart.
Supporters who adopted Leela have sent us messages in her memory
"I was extremely saddened to hear about poor Leela. At least she had some happy final years with you. I am more than happy to adopt Bhoori and hope a friend can be found to keep her company. Keep up the good work!" - Celia from Ballymena, Northern Ireland
"I'm so sorry - this is heartbreaking. She was a beautiful and brave bear. I want to express my gratitude to your organisation. The work you do is selfless. I've always loved bears (they're majestic and complex creatures) and you've given a way to make my interest in them more than just that. Getting an update from you about the bears always humbles me. While I'm so sad to hear of Leela's passing, I know you gave her a wonderful life full of care and affection. Thank you all for your work. The fact that there are people who care enough to ensure the protection of this wonderful species makes the world feel like it isn't all bad." - Elise from Brixton, London