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).
Lonely life in cage over for one special moon bear
On Sunday, 5 February 2012, a small team from our Vietnam rescue centre headed off to Son Tay District, Quang Ngai Province to rescue a moon bear. This solitary little bear has, to our knowledge, spent her entire life so far in a barren cage in a back yard while surrounded by mountains and forest where, because of its remote mountain location, bears still roam free and sign can be found in the forest.
Quang Ngai is approximately 950km from Tam Dao and the district is in a remote and mountainous region of Vietnam, lying on a mountain range that separates the coast from the central highlands. The road from Quang Ngai City to Son Tay is difficult and in bad weather is impossible to travel. While the weather held and the sun shone down, it still took the team the best part of three hours to travel the 75km distance to the rescue location.
The rescued moon bear is female, approximately 60kg, unchipped and missing her left paw – usually a good indication that she was originally snare-caught in the wild. She was confiscated by Son Tay FPD in November 2011 from a household near Son Tay town. The owner claimed that they got the bear before 2005 when she was a cub and too young to microchip and that they had kept her as a pet ever since. Son Tay FPD didn't believe this story and the bear was confiscated and taken back to their station where they looked after her until the rescue was arranged.
The rescue went off without a hitch, with our transport cage hooked up to the FPD cage and this calm, young bear coaxed across using fruit pieces dipped in honey. The local FPD was very cooperative with the paper work and helping load the cage onto the truck and the rescue was completed in just one hour. With a 10-hour drive ahead of them, the team set off immediately on the first leg of their two-day return trip back to Tam Dao.
Overall, it was a good rescue with External Affairs Officer Dr The liaising with the FPD and handling the paperwork, Bear Worker Tuan removing the bear and taking care of her on the road home (and doing the bulk of the drive back when the driver fell ill) and Vietnam Director Tuan seeing another rescue through to a successful end.
According to vet Kirsty who was on hand to welcome her home, this little bear is pretty, petite and has been very friendly from the moment she arrived. She has now been named Quang Thien (a combination of the word "friendly" and the province from where she came) and we look forward to watching her grow and blossom over the months and years ahead.