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).
Double Bear House and enclosures open at Tam Dao rescue centre
Thursday 14 May was a red-letter day for the Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam.
Even the torrential rain that teemed down in the morning couldn’t dampen the spirits of everyone gathered for the official opening of our new double bear house and its wonderful semi-natural enclosures.
The time had finally come to welcome the first of our Vietnam bears out into the great outdoors!
The enclosures have climbing frames, swings, tunnels, and lots more rehab equipment to keep the bears stimulated and active. There are also swimming pools that allow the bears to swim and play and get healthier quicker – hydrotherapy for bears!
The first bears ready to experience their new environment, were Mausi, Mara and Olly. They were rescued as cubs in 2007, and until then they had only seen the sky through the bars of a cage and lately, from their dens.
They were followed by Marmite, rescued from a concrete enclosure in November 2007, and Mischa who joined us in March 2008. Out in the other enclosure, reserved for the sun bears, were David and Lamma, who joined us last year.
While clearly curious and happy in their new surroundings, the bears are going to take some time to become accustomed to their greater freedom. Although already searching for the various enrichment items hidden around the enclosures, they are still a little cautious and prefer to retreat to the security of the bear house once they find their treasures.
But we are confident that it won’t be long before all 25 bears now at the rescue centre, are romping around, free to play, forage, swim and relax at their leisure.
Representatives from the Forestry Protection Department (FPD), Environmental Nature Vietnam (ENV), and the director of the Department of Environmental Police were in attendance at the opening, all of whom have played a big part in our rescues to date. We also welcomed people from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MARD, Finance and Public Security, the Vinh Phuc Provincial Government, and the Chairman of the Tam Dao District. Other welfare organisations also lent their support – WWF, WSPA and our good friends, ACRES from Singapore.
Maggie Q – the internationally known actress and our Moon Bear Rescue Ambassador, Vietnam – spoke with compassion of her Vietnamese heritage and her desire to work with the government to help expedite the rescue of those bears still waiting.
Maggie Q, Jill and Mr Tien cut the ceremonial ribbon.
One of the many highlights of the day was a video message from Dr Dame Jane Goodall, a message of hope and a greeting to the bears in Vietnam from the chimps of Gombe.
Jill and Maggie Q and our special guest of honour, Mr Tien of the Tam Dao National Park, conducted the opening ceremony. The park is an ideal setting for our rescue centre, surrounded by mountains and forest. With this beauty and our facilities we are able to provide our bears with both behavioural and environmental enrichment, so that they may live out their lives in peace and safety.
Visitors gather to view the great new double bear house.
Complete with pools and climbing frames the enclosures are ready for their occupants.
Olly outdoors - grass underfoot and the sun on his back.
Sun bear Lamma gets to grips with an enrichment item.