Annual BEAR Crawl to raise funds for Exotic Animal Sanctuary
MONTGOMERY, TX – Did you know that there are 1,000 bears living in substandard conditions in residential backyards as pets, or roadside attractions, and in need of placement bought out of the exotic pet trade? Many animal facilities across the country, housing large exotic animals and wildlife, have closed due to lack of finances (due to COVID). This leads to lack of proper care, and neglect. Bears can consume 40 plus pounds of fruits and vegetables along with fish, nuts, bugs, and other animals (including feral hog piglets) per day when preparing for hibernation in the winter months, even in captivity.
Many people do not realize you can buy a bear cub from a breeder for $500 and have it as a pet in your home. Currently there are exotic animal sales north of Huntsville and through exotic pet stores in the Greater Houston area selling bears, tigers, lemurs, and other wild animals that only require a low-cost permit to have at your residence.
This is the same with tigers (as low as $1000) and many other wild exotic animals. The bears, tigers, and monkeys are bred for profit in this country including in Texas. All the animal rescue sanctuaries stay full and there continues to be a need for added neglected large animals. The alternative to a sanctuary is euthanasia. Bears Etc. is the ONLY exotic animal rescue in Southeast Texas!
The mission of Bears, Etc. is to set up a Bear and Exotic Animal Rescue Sanctuary in Montgomery County, connecting people with nature through education and awareness. The hope is to build the nation’s first ultramodern Bear Sanctuary, supplying a safe place for neglected, abused, and unwanted bears, who are a part of the exotic pet trade. The sanctuary would supply a permanent refuge for displaced, captive-raised exotic animals kept as “pets” or retired from performance.
Bears Etc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2017 by Kati and Ambrose Krouse to “Leave the world better than they found it by giving animals, and people, a PEACE of the Wild!”
Kati Krouse rescues exotic animals, specifically bears, out of the exotic pet trade and educate the public by connecting people with nature. The organization exists to supply a permanent, community-based, self-sustainable refuge for displaced exotic and wild animals and educate others about the natural world. Kati often speaks to civic organizations, clubs, Scouts, and schools educating the community about wildlife, exotic animals, and of course Bears, Etc. Ambrose and Kati also attend many local events to share information about Bears, Etc.
Kati and Ambrose are both members of the Texas Black Bear Alliance where Kati was appointed to the Board of Directors, promoting the restoration of black bears in proper habitats throughout Texas through cooperative partnerships using education, research, and habitat management.
Bears Etc. is a fulltime operation, but until it is fully functional, Kati supplements her income as a professional groomer, pet sitter, and dog trainer while Ambrose works in A/C and Heating. They also help local dog rescues by fostering (specifically bottle baby puppies), helping with vet tech work, and grooming foster dogs. Kati has rescued parakeets, found homes for dogs, tigers, parrots, wolves/wolf dogs, monkeys, and occasionally alligators.
“The exotic pet trade is a $15 billion a year industry in the US”, said Kati. “The illegal exotic pet trade is second only to drugs, surpassing illegal guns over the last few years. There is no true bear sanctuary focused on bears in the exotic pet trade in the US. In 2010 the Houston SPCA flew a bear to a sanctuary in Romania after not being able to find placement in the United States for her. Bears Etc. is a solution for the captive bears in need of placement.”
“We anticipate the Bear Sanctuary will attract up to 50,000 visitors a year”, continued Kati. “This will be a huge benefit to the hospitality, restaurant, and hotel industries in our community. As a member of the Montgomery Area Chamber, (Chairman 2022) and the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce (Diplomat), I know the impact the tourist attraction can help the local businesses from the unusual tourist venue.
What can you do? Be a part of the Solution!
The Annual Bear Crawl is Saturday, April 23, and Sunday April 24 from noon-6:00pm with wine, beer, and whiskey tasting in the County! Enjoy tasting the spirits from eight local venues, representing eight species of bears-Whitley Vineyards (Montgomery), Blue Epiphany (Conroe), The Ferm Meadery (Conroe), Fass Brewery (Conroe), Frankenboltzzzz Brewing Company (Montgomery), B-52 Brewery (Conroe), Bartlett’s Distillery (Conroe), and H-Wines (Montgomery). Purchase tickets online via the website: https://www.bearsetc.org/event/bear-crawl-2022 or visit one of the participating venues during the event to register. Tickets are $50 per person and each participant will receive a souvenir glass, passport, and wristband to start their two tastings at any location. (Sunday only for Whitley Vineyards and Sat. only for Bartlett’s Distillery).
Funds will help secure a property for a Bear and Exotic Animal Rescue Sanctuary to supply a permanent, community-based, self-sustainable refuge for displaced exotic and wild animals and educate others about the natural world. The sanctuary will include tigers, cougars, and bobcats and allow animals to live in a natural habitat the rest of their life and give them their own PEACE of the Wild. Bears, Etc. has fundraised $102,000 in their capital campaign for a down payment on 20 acres with a goal of $200,000.
“We are in our 5th year as a nonprofit and are excited to see how far we’ve come”, said Kati Krouse, Executive Director, Bears, Etc. We have helped over 100 exotic animals find placement (including 8 bears)! We cannot wait to get the much needed, 20 acres so we can start providing permanent placement for Bears, and other large exotics (like tigers), and bring more tourism and people into our community!”
UPDATE 4/15/22: Article updated with new event location.