On October 19, 2021, Kati Krouse, Executive Director of Bears Etc spoke to the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club about her organization and what it does. Pictured above with one of her tigers is Kati Krouse.
Kati explained that the mission of Bears Etc is to provide a permanent, community-based, self-sustainable refuge for displaced exotic and wild animals and educate others about the natural world. She talked about two of her bears called Betsy and Mamie. Betsy was rescued from a miserable life where she was used to train hunting dogs by chaining her up and letting hunting dogs attack her. Over time she became blind and had a broken front paw that healed in a crooked fashion. Mamie was rescued from a small town where she was caged in a 10 foot circular pen for viewing by the general public. Both bears are now in her sanctuary and doing the best they can to recover from the years of neglect and torture.
Kati spoke about how in the state of Texas, all a person needs to do is buy a $50 permit to own an exotic animal but most pet owners don't even get the permit because no one follows up to see if these owners have a permit or not. However, in a number of states there are no laws against owning an exotic animal. As a result, it is estimated that in the US, there are more exotic animals in the hands of pet owners that there are in the wild. Keti also pointed out that black bears are native to Texas although for many years there were no black bears left in Texas. However, in recent years, black bears are making a comeback in Texas as these bears are migrating from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Kati indicated that Big Bend National Park has around 50 Mexican Black Bears. Kati also pointed out that currently, outside of her organization, there are zero black bear sanctuaries in the US.
Kati then spoke about how expensive it is to own exotic animals. For example, she said a black bear can easily eat 40 pounds of produce a day and that does not include any meat they need for protein. A phot of Kati feeding one of her bears can be seen below:
Kati also pointed out that black bears are smarter than most people give them credit and they can smell food over a mile away. Kati also told everyone about one man who got mad at a town and let out 58 wild animals including tigers, lions and bears into the town. At the end of the day all 58 animals had to be put down.
Kati said her dream is to have 2-5 acres of habit for bears so they can not feel caged up all the time. To this end, Kati mentioned some of their fund raising events including "PAWS" parties and OctoBEARFest. Kati said they currently have a budget of $20,000 but really hope to grow to $100,000.
Kati also invited everyone to come out to:


Southern Star Brewery 3525 N. Frazier St., Conroe, TX

Our tastiest event of the year is back! OctoBEARFest includes BBQ Cook Off, Vendor Area, Kids Area (including bounce houses, yard games, and face painting), and this year.... Craft Beer thanks to Southern Star Brewery! Entry tickets are $10 for ages 5 and up.

For more information about BearsEtc, go to: https://www.bearsetc.org/

Members of the Lake Conroe Rotary Club spoke to the membership about their upcoming "Wine and Beer Tour" fund raiser. They passed out the following flyer: