The China Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu was Animals Asia’s first bear sanctuary and also the first of its kind in the world – an adventurous, safe haven combining secure, semi-natural rehabilitation areas with bamboo forest enclosures designed to provide the bears with a secure, fun and stimulating environment for the remaining years of their lives and to act as a centre for research and education.
Since 2000, when the Chinese government gave us access to an abandoned wildlife sanctuary and the first 63 rescued bears arrived, the centre has seen continual development and improvements. Today there are 11 bear houses and 15 natural and semi-natural enclosures – including two special-care enclosures for old or mobility-challenged bears and a special enclosure for brown bears – that can house around 250 bears, depending on their needs (extra space is required for special-needs bears). Many of the enrichment furnishings and toys the bears enjoy in their enclosures have been made from local materials and built onsite by our own bear horticulture team.
The sanctuary also has a fully-equipped veterinary hospital, a sheltered quarantine area, an administrative block, a public education classroom, staff and worker accommodation, a staff canteen kitchen, a bear kitchen, a bear cemetery, a herb garden for growing natural alternatives to bear bile – and a macaque enclosure that is home to two confiscated pet macaques. Specially created viewing areas around three bear houses enable staff and visitors to observe the bears close up in their semi-naturalistic enclosures. Construction of a public education centre is currently also underway.