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).
Bear rescue policy for Chengdu and Tam Dao rescue centres
February 2010 - Moon bear rescue centres
Animals Asia currently operates two Moon Bear Rescue centres, both of which have been specifically established to receive bears that have been rescued from bear farms..
Our China centre, outside the city of Chengdu, was established in 2000, and received its first group of bears in October of that year. By November 2010, 277 bears have been admitted to the centre, and 171 are alive still, enjoying their freedom today.
The establishment of the Moon Bear Rescue Centre in China was achieved through groundbreaking "Memoranda of Agreements" with the Sichuan Forestry Department and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, signed in June 2000. These agreements were the first to be drawn up between Chinese government agencies and an international animal welfare organisation.
In these agreements, it states that "The rescue centre is to be built for bears from closed bear farms to spend the rest of their lives". The agreements allow for the development of a centre capable of housing 500 such bears; on the land we currently have available to us, we could probably house up to 350 bears.
Our Vietnam centre, in the Tam Dao National Park outside of Hanoi, received its first rescued bears in 2007, and by November 2010 has rescued 69 bears. This centre was also established as a result of an agreement between Animals Asia and the authorities, specifically Vietnam's Central Forest Protection Department, signed in November 2005. According to the Project Construction document, this centre was to receive "bears rescued from bear farms".
Problems faced by bears Bears face all kinds of problems throughout their ranges. We are often asked to help bears in zoos in Asia, bears that are forced to perform degrading acts in the name of entertainment, bears that are held as "pets" or tourist attractions at hotels and other places, as well as the thousands of bears exploited for their bile that still languish on the terrible bear farms.
Animals Asia's role Animals Asia arguably has more experience in the care, management, and rehabilitation of Asiatic black bears (moon bears) than any other organisation. We are in a unique position to offer help and advice to other facilities at which bears are held. We try to offer constructive advice and help wherever possible and appropriate, and have produced several documents summarising aspects of bear management in which we have expertise. However, our Moon Bear Rescue Centres in China and Vietnam were specifically conceived and constructed to receive and house bears from bear farms.
Every bear that comes into one of our centres from a bear farm undergoes extremely thorough medical and surgical examinations to try to correct any damage caused by the bile extraction process, and to identify and alleviate any other problems resulting from the bear's incarceration on the farm.
This process not only helps the bears adapt to a life at the centre, but also helps us gather invaluable information on the damage that incarceration and bile extraction does to the bears. We are also gathering information on the contaminants contained in bile extracted from bears that are sick and infected, and the potential damage that these contaminants might inflict on people who subsequently consume bile and bile products from bear farms. The increasing catalogue of information we are collecting further arms us with evidence against the bear-farming industry.
Any deviation from the objective of developing the centres specifically for rehabilitating bears from farms could bring us into conflict with the Chinese and Vietnamese authorities on whose cooperation we rely, and could compromise our ultimate aim of bringing the barbaric practice of bear farming to an end. Therefore, we must restrict places at our sanctuaries to those bears that are rescued from farms, so they can live out their lives in comfort and without fear.
We realise this policy does not help to alleviate the suffering of the many thousands of bears held in appalling conditions for entertainment. Therefore, where possible, Animals Asia will offer nutritional, behavioural and veterinary advice and support for establishments exhibiting bears for entertainment to improve the bears’ quality of life.
If you know of bears that are in need of help, please send details of the bears living conditions, location and any pictures or video footage you have of these bears. If possible, we will contact the establishment to offer advice and support on their management and, if appropriate, raise awareness of their plight with relevant government officials.
We will continue to try to help all animals in need wherever and however we can.