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).
Recently out of quarantine, one new bear moves on to the next stage
November 2009: Last July we brought a young bear to our Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park, in Vietnam. After several months in quarantine and rehabilitation, Yen Bai was ready to move recently – and now inhabits his very own “big bear’s den” in the River House.
Once his quarantine had been completed, we decided he should move into a den next to our young “juvenile delinquents” – the group of seven youngsters who keep the whole centre on its toes! This group is made up of our very first trio of baby cubs rescued, Mara, Mausi and Olly, who were subsequently joined by Marmite and Mischa, and later – when they had grown robust enough – by Yin Yang and Irwin Junior.
At first Yen Bai was a little cautious and slightly nervous about his new surroundings and the new sounds but nevertheless, was super-exited about his den, climbing all over the place and playing with his new toys.
From what we can gather, Yen Bai arrived on the bile farm as a cub weighing 15kg. He was then fed on a diet of rice and pumpkin for the next three years, until he was confiscated and transferred to our rescue centre earlier this year. Such a poor diet and a complete lack of room to move and exercise throughout his growth years has lead to stunting. He is much smaller than he should be for his age – with a relatively large head on a little body – and severe degenerative joint disease, particularly in his hips and knees. For the development of healthy limbs and joints, being able to stretch and exercise and build up muscle mass to support the joints, is vital.
Yen Bai’s problems became more evident when we moved him into the den in River House – he currently has quite a stiff little gait, particularly in his hind limbs – and moves more like an old man than a three year old youngster. Now however, he has far more space to move and stretch and climb than he has had since he was a tiny cub.
While it took him a while to navigate the ladders, and he's still a little uncoordinated, the sheer delight he finds in being able to move about, play with hanging toys, and sleep in baskets or on his platform is very clear to see.
Every day we watch his movement get stronger, and the stiffness leave his joints. While he will always have degenerative joint disease, a legacy of his early years on the farm, we now have him on medicine to slow the progression of this degeneration, and we're giving him every chance to develop his muscle strength and joint flexibility.
He's a very lovable bear - very gentle and happy, and he absolutely loves his toys. Having never had anything to play with before, he makes sure to make the most out of anything given to him to play with.
Yen Bai grabs a quick rest from his exertions around the roomy den.
From the second day in River House we allowed Yen Bai to have contact with the group of juveniles through the bars, which was a huge success – all the juveniles wanted to be friends with Yen Bai, which he found a bit overwhelming at first, but he was interested and curious, and after a very short time they were all best friends.
The juveniles next door are excited to meet their new neighbour.
Hopefully it will not be long before we can fully integrate Yen Bai with this little group of bears permanently – but not before he has built up his muscles a bit so he can hold his own with this boisterous bunch!
Bear Manager, Pernille, and the team get ready to move Yen Bai from quarantine.
Out in the sunshine, and on his way to his roomy new den in the River House.
Yen Bai loves his toys and plays for hours with everything he can get his paws on.
Yen Bai is blossoming into a very happy, playful and friendly little bear.