Bärle's Story: One Polar Bear's Amazing Recovery from Life as a Circus Act
June 10, 2014
When a 19-year old female polar bear named Barle is rescued from the inhumane conditions of a circus in the Caribbean and flown to safety in Detroit, zookeeper Else Poulsen — renowned throughout the world for her work rehabilitating bears who have been abused — is on hand to meet her and help her on the road to recovery and self-discovery. Thus begins Barle’s gradual introduction into the world of polar bears. Slowly she forges relationships with the other bears in the zoo and eventually mates with a young male and successfully raises a cub. By living in a caring, enriched environment focused on her welfare, Barle is able to recover from the trauma she had suffered at the circus and develop skills that are important to thriving as a polar bear. As Poulsen documents, however, not all captive bears are so fortunate. Augmented with black-and-white photographs, Barle’s Story provides a rich and moving portrait of a remarkable bear and of the author’s inspiring work to help her discover her true polar bear ways.