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).
Vietnam bears explore their new outdoor enclosures
Our Vietnam bears are getting their first taste of the great outdoors in the two beautiful, semi-natural enclosures attached to the double bear house that opened on May 14 at our Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park. One enclosure is for the sun bears, the other for the moon bears.
On the “moon’s side”, we have introduced Mara, Mausi, Olly, Marmite and Mischa to the enclosure. They all stepped out cautiously on day one, staying close to the dens so they could quickly scamper inside the moment their courage failed them! Marmite is by far the most adventurous, being the first to discover and ravage trees, find and swim in the pool, and with such confidence, she usually finds the tasty enrichment items first! Mischa and Olly have been quick to follow suit, with Mischa generally leading the way. These three have ventured quite far, although it took them about two weeks of gradual familiarisation to get half-way into their enclosure. A week on from their release into the enclosure, none of them had reached the far end, and they generally avoid the more open side, next to the pool and play structure.
The Vietnam team has seen the bears looking up at the trees and the sky, obviously marveling at their surroundings. When we remember that these five young bears have been used to bars above their heads all their lives, it is understandable that becoming fully comfortable with the open space will take some time.
Safety in numbers: the gang of five venture out together.
Mara and Mausi have not ventured far at all yet. We started to put their morning food just outside the den doors and this has enticed them out a little way, though both are still content with the safety of their dens. More space, more noise and more dens, as well as a new area, seem to have overwhelmed Mausi a little, but as she is happy and plays with her den-mates daily, we are confident that she will make it out in her own time.
Mischa has discovered digging dirt, and is enjoying digging lots of holes, especially around massive tree roots, looking for tasty insects no doubt! There is a massive fire-hose hammock in the enclosure – it by far rivals the size of any at the rescue centre in China – and the two boys, Olly and Mischa, have been seen playing in it often, much to the delight of the bear workers, who spent hours making and erecting it in the enclosure.
We have also moved Mama and Moggy, Merlin, Leika, Jarvis, Grillo, Marvin and Lexi over to the new house. All moved without a hitch, and have settled into their new den life with ease and no stress. In fact, they all seem to be aware that something exciting is on the cards in the very near future: we plan to start integrations shortly, so the group size outside will increase very soon.
Watch this space for more news of the moon bears and an update on David and Lamma’s sunny adventures in their own enclosure!