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RIP brave Bossham

I’m so sad to have to bring you the news that Bossham, who was among the 28 moon bears rescued on 31 March, has died. This brings to 13 the total number of bears from that group that have succumbed to ailments caused by their appalling treatment on the farms. Bossham was a brave and beautiful bear with a glorious temperament despite his disabilities; he was so much loved by us all. 

Dr Kati Loeffler, our Veterinary Consultant, was with this brave boy at the end. This is Kati’s account of his last few weeks:

“Bossham joined the AAF family on 31 March this year in a group of the sickest bears that AAF has ever been able to rescue from bear bile farms. He was a large, beautiful, gentle-mannered bear, suffering quietly in a cage into which he had been crammed like clothes into a suitcase. 

Once we pulled him out of his bear farm cage and he woke in his new spacious quarters, it became evident that something was badly wrong with his hind limbs. He could not use them. At first it seemed that he could not move them at all. But with encouragement, assistance, and tireless veterinary care from the staff at the Moon Bear Rescue Centre, he gradually gained the ability to move his limbs, then to roll himself onto his chest and to sit up. 

In the last few weeks he was even able to stand for brief periods of time. He loved his food and ate voraciously, desperately, as though every meal would be his last. It is one of the greatest pleasures to be able to work with these bears as they slowly begin to trust and learn to relinquish the fear of starvation and pain with which they had lived all of their lives before Animals Asia. We so looked forward to Bossham's journey into trust. 

Then suddenly 10 days ago he suffered a seizure. He responded well to the emergency veterinary treatment and within a day appeared back to his normal self, progressing steadily toward wellness. And then this morning (30 June) we found him dead.

He died of a massively distended stomach, which stretched literally to breaking point and caused the collapse of his circulatory system. The cause of this and whether it was related to the cause of the seizure is difficult to know. But Bossham was now the third bear in that March 31 group with such a condition. The first one died on the surgery table; the second, Poodley/Haribo, was able to be saved. 

And yet prior to these three bears, only one of nearly 200 bears were bloated like this. One must wonder if there was something on the farm from which these bears came – in the food, a toxin, something causing damage to the normal function of the intestines – that predisposed them to such an agonising death.

Rest in peace Bossham.”

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