New lives begin for bears Dung and James
10 March 2014
Arriving to a fanfare of best wishes from across the world, late on Friday night (07.03.14) - rescued moon bears Dung and James are now settling in to their new life at Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary.
Taken from their parents as cubs and trafficked into Vietnam from Laos, the young siblings were thankfully discovered by the Vietnamese authorities before they could suffer the horrors of a bile farm.
As with all new arrivals, Dung and her blind brother James will first have to undergo a minimum 45 days in quarantine before moving into a large enclosure with the sanctuary’s other juveniles.
And for those 45 days, the vet team are gearing up to spoil the pair rotten. The juvenile’s will enjoy four enrichment sessions a day, with a rotating list of toys and smears, so that no two days are the same. From rice mixes offered in bamboo feeders to seeds and nuts mixed in a paste and hidden in toys known as Kongs - vets and keepers will be going all out to make sure the bears are as happy and stimulated as possible.
Annemarie Weegenaar, Animals Asia’s Bear and Vet Team Director, Vietnam said:
“While bears are in quarantine, we make their lives as comfortable as we can. The enrichment items we provide are designed to stimulate natural behaviour and keep them mentally active. So for example, feeding is designed to mimic foraging, enrichment items are rotated and substrates like straw are used to make their home as comfortable as possible. We’ve already noticed that both Dung and James are particularly fond of eating banana leaves, sweet potato vine and corn stalks.”
Quarantining new bears is a vital process to prevent disease from spreading to the other 107 bears in the VBRC. During this time, the bears have to be kept separate – even allowing Dung and James into an already populated area could contaminate the soil of an enclosure making it temporarily unusable for other bears. While we’re all impatient to get the bears outside – our job is to make sure the process is as enjoyable, relaxing and stimulating as possible.”
Once the quarantine is over, it is hoped Dung and James will be integrated with cubs and juveniles of a similar age. Already waiting to make friends are sibling cubs Misty and Rain (below) and juveniles Ricky and Joey.