Glorious sun bear cub arrives at Vietnam sanctuary

02 July 2014

Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre has just welcomed its newest resident, a five-month-old sun bear cub.

Nicknamed Layla, the tiny 13kg cub is settling into a 45-day quarantine period in a private den in the cub house, specially designed for beautiful bear cubs like her.

With a mini paddling pool, fire-hose hammock and low wooden platforms, Layla can explore and play with her coconut, bamboo and rope toys in complete safety.

Animals Asia Bear Manager Sarah Dempsey said:

“When little Layla first arrived at VBRC she was stressed and nervous from the journey. After a day of settling into her new den and routine little Layla became increasingly playful and boisterous, starting to make full use of the many new toys and structures in her new home. We found she particularly enjoyed her coconut shell hanging mobiles and splashing in her paddling pool. Now on a much more age and species appropriate diet, this gorgeous little sun bear can look forward to future socialization with other sun bears.”


Having been trafficked, Layla found herself at the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre (HWRC) where Animals Asia and Change for Animals Foundation are implementing a Captive Wild Animal Management project.

Based in the outskirts of Hanoi, the HWRC is a state-run captive animal facility set up to house animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. The facility suffers from an excess of animals while lacking funds and experience prompting Animals Asia to implement a project to improve animal welfare on site.

Captive Wild Animal Management Advisor Erin Ivory was worried about Layla’s diet and called staff at VBRC for advice.

Due to a lack of expertise caring for bear cubs, Layla was being fed an unsuitable diet for cubs made up of rice, vegetables and egg and was also suffering from worms.

When Layla began to have diarrhoea too, the HWRC agreed to transfer her to the VBRC to ensure she had the best possible long term care and welfare.


Senior Veterinarian Joost Philippa said:

“Layla was very playful when we picked her up from the centre. Because she’s so small I was able to do a physical examination without needing to anaesthetise her, and apart from the very watery diarrhoea she seems healthy."

"She’s been dewormed and her diarrhoea has started to clear up but we’ll continue to keep a close eye on her.”

Bear and Vet Team Director for Vietnam, Annemarie Weegenaar said:

“Layla was initially being fed Esbilac, a puppy formula which she and our other bear cubs love. We’ve since got her onto puppy dog bicuits, fruit and vegetables which she’s taken to very well. She’s enjoying them all at the moment but will eventually be weaned off the milk formula”

“At the VBRC, we have a considerable body of experience in dealing with moon and sun bear cubs so will be able to provide Layla with the best possible care.”

The music in the film is "Instrumental #2 - Revisited" by Gillicuddy. It is available for purchase at and is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Germany License (CC BY-NC)