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).
On Monday 4 April, the Vietnam team formed a small rescue party and headed north to retrieve a male bear, voluntarily surrendered by his owner.
Vet Kirsty, Vet Nurse Caz, External Affairs Officer Dr The, Bear Worker Tuan and Vietnam Director Tuan, went to Van Don District in Quang Ninh Province – around 250km and six-hours away from the Vietnam Rescue Centre at Tam Dao – to retrieve the bear, nicknamed "Boy" by his owner.
Our first view of Boy: isolated for many years in a bare, rusting cage.
Boy is a wild-caught bear, missing his right fore-paw and approximately six to eight years old. His voluntary surrender by his owner is a first for this province and was instigated by the owner's daughter, who had seen our work on local TV.
The owner confessed that, had it not been for his daughter's persistence and encouragement, he would never have thought to hand the bear over. And because of ownership issues, the rescue was indeed almost cancelled!
The team encountered problems leading up to the rescue with the Quang Ninh Forestry Protection Department (FPD) refusing to process the case because the owner has bought the bear illegally four years previously and, even though the bear was micro-chipped, he was not the registered owner.
It was touch and go at one point, with the owner so frustrated about the red tape involved that he was ready to cancel the whole arrangement. Luckily for Boy, the owner’s daughter stepped in again and persuaded him to fulfill his promise.
After some investigation and with the co-operation of Boy’s owner, the previous owner was tracked down and the transfer documentation was successfully completed.
Once everything was finalized, the physical rescue of Boy went very well and the team set off for Tam Dao with a sigh of relief and another beautiful, deserving bear who now has another chance at life.
Update: Despite being quite grumpy on arrival, after just four days at the rescue centre in Tam Dao, Boy has settled in nicely in the quarantine area. Now in a bigger recovery cage, filled with comfy straw, fresh browse and enrichment items, he is fairly content and recently just enjoyed his first shower! He is in relatively good health with a good appetite though doesn't appear too fond of vegetables.
Boy will remain in quarantine for around 45 days before moving to a spacious den and eventually being integrated with other bears in the outdoor enclosures.
Boy is content in his recovery cage, filled with bear comforts and browse.
Boy enjoys his first good hose down as Falk treats him to a shower.