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).
Song Sot had lived alone in a cage in a dark shed for many months after his rescue from smugglers.
Destined for bear farms, three moon bear cubs have had their lives changed forever. Rescued and cared for initially by Forest Protection Department officials (FPD), these three bears have now joined their permanent family at the Moon Bear Rescue Centre, in Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam.
On 14 July 2011 a small rescue team set off to Son La Province to recover three moon bears from two separate locations. External Affairs Officer Dr The, Bear Worker Phu, Senior Translator Thanh and Vet Nurse Caroline visited the two sites and successfully removed the bears.
First up was a juvenile male bear that had been in the care of Son La FPD since October 2010, after being confiscated from smugglers. This young bear – now nicknamed Song Sot, meaning 'survivor' in Vietnamese – had been kept in a large cage in a dark shed with macaques and porcupines for neighbours. After being gently anaesthetised by Caroline, Song Sot had a brief health-check and later, when fully awake again, was readied for the road home. Weighing in at 43kg, Song Sot was in fairly good condition and was quick to settle down for his trip.
Cared for by Son La Forest Protection Department, he was in fairly good condition, though quite nervous.
Vet nurse Caroline conducts an initial health check before readying Song Sot for the road home.
Next stop was Moc Chau, to take charge of two very small cubs. These two little male moon bears had been rescued by Moc Chau FPD in early June, while they were being smuggled across the Laos border. The cubs had been fed on a diet of rice soup with pumpkin and were a bit skinny, so Caroline and team were quite relieved to see them take to their new milk formula right away. Nicknamed Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes, the cubs fed well on the road back to the centre, despite being quite nervous and scared.
Little Wayne and Peter Robert Baynes, rescued from smugglers only weeks before, en route to a bear farm.
The two cubs, settled into a transport cage and ready for the trip home to the rescue centre.
Song Sot has settled down during the week, eating enthusiastically and learning to trust his new carers.
Update on Song Sot
Song Sot was transferred to a double recovery cage in the quarantine area. At first he was very nervous and growled at anyone who came close to him but he has gradually settled down. He is very food motivated which is what broke the ice in the end, allowing his carers to sit right next to him while he was enjoying his meal. This way he grew in confidence and knew that they were not here to harm him and that they could be trusted. Later in the week, Song Sot had little reservation about walking into the "weigh cage" - a specially designed transport cage incorporating a scale - showing his interest and curiosity in his new environment, even as he remains relatively careful. And because of his new diet and healthy appetite, he now weighs an impressive 45.2kg!
Song Sot does like his food - dog food, tomatoes and sweet potatoes are all gone within minutes but for the time being, carrots and cabbage get no attention! He takes great advantage of his enrichment items (especially if there's food involved) and toys and seems very interested and eager to meet other bears to play with. With the construction of a new Cub House well under way and scheduled for completion soon, Song Sot will get exactly what he wants before too long, when his quarantine is done and the new house is opened!