years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
The most recent rescues in Vietnam brought three very young cubs into our care at the Tam Dao Moon Bear Rescue Centre – brother and sister Angus (previously nicknamed Vadar) and Maggie, and the tiniest bear yet, cheeky little Taurus. These baby bears have been spared the life-long torture of a bile farm, but cannot ever be released into the wild again as they will be without the skills to fend for themselves, and in danger of being illegally re-captured for the bile industry.
However, everybody needs company and so, with a view to integrating the three cubs permanently, we set up “play-dates” last week to see how they would get along. We’re delighted to say that it’s all going very well!
We tried Taurus and Angus the first day. Taurus was very excited, and then quickly alarmed when he realized that his new toy could pin him to the ground and play-bite. However, the next day was a great improvement, with Taurus much more prepared. He took the high ground immediately, and was ready for action! He was taken down of course, by his formidable opponent with the great weight advantage of a kilo or two, but he was able to get away and his confidence has been growing ever since.
After that we thought Taurus was ready for the big time, so he was introduced to Maggie (who’s much rougher than Angus), but on her first visit, she was much more interested in exploring his room, and playing with his toys. Poor Taurus didn’t know what to do – he was very excited that she was there, but didn’t know whether to stay up high where he felt safe, or go down and try to play. It was amazing to watch this tiny bear try to come to a big decision! They did finally meet, and Maggie was not as rough with him as we thought she would be, so all went better than expected.
We now do sessions with all three together – still on Taurus’s turf of course – and they are all making great progress. Taurus does really well until someone sits on him and he can’t get up! He can handle it though, and as soon as he breaks free, takes the high ground again and gets back in the game. Maggie and Angus sometimes play with each other more and ignore Taurus a bit, and he can’t stand it. He’s so excited when they’re in his room, and he wants to play too, but he’s smart enough to try and keep the upper hand.
The sessions are daily, and the amount of time is determined by the cubs’ behaviour during the session. If things get a little too rough, or Taurus starts looking tired we end it on a positive note and so keep the cubs looking forward to the next meeting.
Angus and Maggie lost no time in training the staff once they arrived at the sanctuary!
A tiny scrap of a bear, Taurus weighed just over 2kg when rescued.
Now bigger and stronger, Taurus and Angus enjoy their favourite game of wrestling!