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).
Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes adjust to their new environment
29 July 2011: When our two latest rescue cubs, Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes, arrived back at the rescue centre at Tam Dao National Park two weeks ago, they were taken to our current small “Cub House” and introduced to their new home.
This little hut was originally built to provide a roomy but cub-safe environment for the occasional rescue of small bears. Since then however, it has seen many vulnerable little cubs graduate through its doors as strong, confident little bears! All of our cubs are victims of the illegal wildlife trade, rescued from smugglers on their way to lives of torture on bear farms.
Initially Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes were very scared as the hut was a vast increase in size on the cage they had been living in at the Forest Protection Department (FPD) station. But they have been coming on in leaps and bounds since then, getting braver every day. They quickly became more inquisitive and happy to start accepting fruit from the bear managers’ hands, building their confidence and allaying their fears.
Vet nurse Caroline commented, “Wayne was the more timid of the two and a very stereotypic cub when we first met him, which was very sad to see in a cub.” Stereotypic behaviour is seen in bears and other animals that have spent a long time in captivity, without enrichment and in stressful situations, and manifests itself in repetitive behaviours – bar biting, head swaying, repetitive actions and even self mutilation.
Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes step tentatively out into their new cub house, a little intimidated by the space.
Though nervous and alert, the cubs explore their new surroundings, naturally drawn to the water tub.
“The stereotypy and fear has now reduced greatly”, continues Caroline, “and Wayne has become the braver of the two cubs when it comes to taking milk. They have shown us yet again how smart bears are as it didn't take them long to learn to come to the feeding crates for milk.”
“They love their fruit, especially pear and watermelon which is devoured very quickly when they go out to investigate their den for enrichment after feeding. They love playing with browse, which is probably very new to them, and are starting to enjoy playing with the toys in the den. And like all moon bears, they love water and are having lots of fun bathing in a big plastic tub!”
Getting braver by the day, the cubs experience their first bunch of fresh grasses, a favourite with all our bears.
Peter Robert Baynes is confident enough to explore more and clamber about the enrichment toys set up in the cub hut.
We are in the final construction stages of a new “Cub House”, with large, roomy dens opening on to outside enclosures, and many of our young “graduates” from the little cub hut will soon be moving in. For most of them, this means they will be able to run free on grass, play, climb, forage and swim under an open sky, for the first time in their lives.
When Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes are a little older and a little bolder, they will be integrated with this group, forming lifetime bonds and living out the long years ahead safe and secure, thanks to the continuing support of our wonderful donors.