Bear petting area dedicated to Tom Casperson at Oswald’s Bear Ranch

Courtesy photo State Senator Tom Casperson and Dean Oswald pause for a photo with a bear at Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry.

NEWBERRY — National Zookeeper Week kicked off with a “Beary Big Bang” at Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry. Dean Oswald and staff dedicated the Cub Petting Area to State Senator Tom Casperson, who spearheaded the law to reinstate the cub petting. The senator and his family enjoyed the fun and educational interaction with a cub during the dedication.

Public Act 8 of 2013 authorizes Oswald’s Bear Ranch to permit interactions with a bear cub up to 36 weeks of age or less than 90 pounds. This “bucket list” activity is enjoyed by thousands of visitors annually who visit the rescue refuge.

Oswald’s Bear Ranch is the largest “bear only” rescue facility in the country. The 240 acre rescue ranch is presently developing a 200 acre sanctuary, which when completed will be the largest of its kind for black bears in the world.

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