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Tribal elders sue Cherokee bear zoo

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are suing a North Carolina roadside zoo that keeps bears in concrete pits on reservation land.

An attorney for two tribal elders filed the lawsuit Tuesday, 60 days after they filed a notice of intent to sue the operators of the Cherokee Bear Park for violating the federal Endangered Species Act.

The elders say grizzlies are being abused at park.

The park owners could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

The lawsuit is the latest development in the long-running fight to close bear zoos on the reservation. The tribal council has declined to take action despite repeated calls by tribal elders and animal rights activists.

Protests by those groups helped close one of the bear zoos earlier this year.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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