A four month old cub found on Nanning Bear Farm has become the first bear to enjoy an enrichment programme leaving staff confident she will enjoy a bright future.
Nicknamed Smudge by Animals Asia staff, the bear cub was destined part of the farm’s breeding and bile extraction programmes.
But since Animals Asia began to transform the bear farm into a sanctuary under the Peace by Piece initiative, Smudge’s life has improved immeasurably.
She now enjoys a range of enrichment items offering physical and mental stimulation, including a paddling pool, teddy bear, climbing frame, browse and straw bedding.
The cub also has her own feeding programme which involves being hand fed a milk formula four times a day by former farmhand Qin Dalei.
Heidi Quine, Senior Bear Manager said:
“I shudder to think of the life Smudge would have had, growing up alone in a dark cell – like almost every other bear on the farm probably did.
“So to see her climbing her frame or splashing in the water is just amazing. These things are so simple but are making the world of difference to her life.
“With the present infrastructure and staff limitations, we are still in the process of working through how to expand the enrichment programme to the rest of the bears but we’ll be doing so as soon as we can make sure it would be safe for the bears.”
As such a young cub, staff can enter Smudge’s enclosure to maintain and change enrichment items, something impossible when dealing with larger bears.
Although Nanning Bear Farm kept no records, Animals Asia staff estimate the next youngest bears on site as being significantly larger one to three year old juveniles.
Born just a few months before Animals Asia began transforming the facility, Smudge is the last bear that will ever be bred in captivity on the site.