SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – Animal rights group PETA is calling out an Idaho-based roadside zoo for exploiting baby bear cubs.

The animal-rights group claims The Yellowstone Bear World (YBW) company is exploiting and subjecting the cubs to stressful situations, resulting in visible exhaustion.

PETA has filed a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the event.

Over four days, PETA says 9-week-old bear cubs were subjected, “to near-constant, stressful handling by employees and customers who paid to touch and take photos with the babies, who often screamed and writhed as they were passed back and forth.”

In the official letter, PETA mentions behaviors they witnessed in the animals including:

  • Multiple bear cubs exhibited signs of stress and exhaustion likely due to excessive handling, noise, inadequate space and enrichment, and/or overheating. 
  • A bear cub exhibited abnormal suckling behavior.
  • Multiple animals, including bear cubs and deer, did not appear to have accessible drinking water.
  • An unsupervised, agitated deer was lunging at children in the petting zoo, posing a serious injury risk to them.

“Yellowstone Bear World brings a spectacle of suffering baby bears wherever it goes,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on the government to hold this outfit accountable for exploiting vulnerable cubs and is urging the public to stay away from its seedy photo op stunts.”