Supermarkets stocked with imports mean it’s easy to become spoilt in expecting to see all fruit and veg available all year round - but in Vietnam fruit is seasonal which is good news for the bears.
Here Faith, at our Vietnam sanctuary, is enjoying a lovely slice of pumpkin - a seasonal replacement for food staple cabbage – and it’s one of her favorites.
Day-by-day the bears forage for strategically placed cabbages, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, apples and pears. However, a little bit of variety is very good, not just for their health, but also their mental wellbeing. This “enrichment” is part of what ensures they remain happy, contented moon bears.
Currently the bears are going crazy for jackfruit - a special mid summer treat. Last week mangosteens were a huge hit.
The bears are also encouraged to work for their food - if it’s not scattered around the enclosure then they’re lodged in puzzle feeders or even frozen in ice.
For Faith - nothing makes her happier than a slice of fruit and her favourite hammock.
Bear Manager Sarah Dempsey explains:
“Faith is a bear who loves her food which is reflected in her somewhat voluptuous shape. She likes to be comfy when she eats and often props herself up on the hammock or finds a suitable structure in the enclosure she can lean on which doubles as a scratching post. She is not overly fussy but like most of the bears she particularly likes fruit. She is an oddly proportioned bear, with her head being quite large relative to her body size. Most likely resulting from inappropriate housing and nutrition as she was developing.”
Faith has been with Animals Asia since 2011 and has settled in well - enjoying the diet and the company of new friends. She also had an eye removed - surgery that she was quick to adapt to.
After a long hot summer, the autumn will soon be upon us, bringing with it more seasonal specialties. An enrichment calendar means they will be planned out well in advance - but the bears have no idea what treat is coming up next.
Happily – for the moon bears at Animals Asia’s sanctuaries - surprises are designed into each and every day.