• International
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Hong Kong (EN)
  • Hong Kong (繁)
  • animalasia.lang_fr
  • China
  • Vietnam

After an epic rescue, recovery begins for our ‘Wish Come True’ bears…

As many times as we've rescued bears from bile farms over the last 19 years, the emotions we experience never get old. The hopelessness seeing the victims in their cages, the devastation of their physical and psychological abuse, the relief removing them from prisons that have held them for decades, followed by a surge of new emotions that such a rescue brings. The goose bumps we feel arriving at Tam Dao National Park, driving our new rescues through our sanctuary's front gates to ultimate safety. The joy we experience when we see them using nesting behaviors in banana leaves for the first time. The satisfaction we feel watching them eat nutritious fruit and vegetables – like delicious watermelon, mango and carrots – they've likely never had an opportunity to taste in their lives.

BananaLeaves Anh Sang enjoys some banana leaf browse on the road to the sanctuary.

Breakfast_FRUITNew tastes our bears enjoyed on their journey to the sanctuary.

The ultimate freedom ride occurred for Mana, Manu, Mia, Tim, Holly and Anh Sang this past weekend and I hope you had a chance to follow their epic journey on our Rescue Timeline.

Sixbears-wishcometruerescueOur 'Wish Come True' bears.

As we've said time and time again, once a bear has been freed from a life of bile extraction, the true road to recovery begins. Whenever we rescue bears from a bile farm, we get so many questions about what happens next once our new residents arrive home, I thought I would explain a little more about the process.

As soon as our new bears arrive at the sanctuary, our team whisk them off to quarantine where they will stay for 45 days under the watchful care of our outstanding veterinary and bear management staff. We're often asked why the bears can't simply be integrated with our other residents right away. Of course, we would like nothing more than to introduce our newest residents to their new bear family as soon as possible. However, it is absolutely imperative for the health of all 170 bears at the Vietnam sanctuary that the quarantine occurs. We don't yet know what hidden ailments and potential disease these long-abused bears may be suffering from and it is our duty to keep all of our residents safe. Therefore, the quarantine is a must. Rest assured however, their time in quarantine will be well spent and enjoyed, as they undergo health checks, the removal of pain and a time of non-stop spoiling. With growing curiosity and excitement they will chow down on plenty of extra treats as well as enrichment in the form of puzzle feeders, new tastes, sounds and scents designed to support their mental health. After more than a decade of boredom and torment in bile cages, it's equally important to engage their minds in stimulating activity as it is to help their bodies regain their strength with nutritious foods and proper medical care.

TIM_BananaleavesOn the road home - banana leaves have quickly become a favourite with rescued bear Tim.

During this time or once ready, our new residents will receive thorough medical checks and any urgent health issues will be addressed with medication or surgery. These procedures might include the removal of gall bladders, if damaged due to bile extraction, or oral surgery to remove painfully rotten or damaged teeth due to their poor diet or their repeated attempts at freeing themselves from their iron prisons, respectively. Any instances of pain will be treated right away, as you saw already on the journey home with Holly, who lost her left forepaw and whose left hind paw is heavily mutilated, both injuries believed to have occurred from being trapped years ago. Another bear, Mana, is believed to be blind, after showing no reaction to visual stimulation, so he too will be checked as quickly as possible.

Holly-transportcageHolly in her transport cage - missing her left forepaw.

Once quarantine is complete and the bears are ready, they will be moved to a larger indoor bear den. One might expect that this would be a joyful occasion for our bears and, indeed, eventually it will be. But after half a lifetime in a cage, some of these bears have been so traumatised that this newfound freedom is simply too much for them to cope with, while others are so thrilled to have more space to move around in that you can instantly see them rejoice! This is where our expert bear care team steps in to support this process with things like tasty snacks, encouraging voices, even relaxing music, enabling each individual bear to take as long as they need to explore and adjust to their new surroundings.

Mana-browseMana, receiving fresh banana leaf browse - great for enrichment and a sweet treat.

Next, it's time to meet their new bear family! What might be surprising is that, in the wild, moon bears are not known to be social animals, so it's important that their communities are carefully managed. Prior to the bears meeting one another, our sanctuary staff will monitor them for signs of aggression or stress. If there are no negative signs, they will be introduced to other resident bears in a neutral environment in the hope that long-term relationships will form. We have seen over and over that these relationships can not only be very therapeutic, but fun!

Last, comes the step we all wait for: the moment when our rescued bears walk, one by one, out into a grassy enclosure for the first time. Because we treat every bear as an individual depending upon his or her needs, this step may happen before or after integration with other bears and every bear is expected to react differently. However, over time, they will learn to trust their carers and their new bear family and begin to live the life that was stolen from them so long ago.

VBRC_RescuedBears_EnclosureAt our Vietnam rescue centre, an enclosure like this awaits once the bears complete quarantine.

Our six new bears have already started their 45-day quarantine, before beginning their individually tailored rehabilitation programmes at our sanctuary, which we hope will culminate in them living in large, grassy enclosures alongside 170 other members of their rescue family for the rest of their lives. The ability to literally give these bears a new lease on life fills us with indescribable happiness and pride.

But we can only do so thanks to your generosity. It's YOU who keeps us keeping on for these precious lives. It's YOU who enables us to carry out this vital work.

Thank you for the peace they have today and please, if you haven't already done so, consider making a holiday gift to help us help them now.

300DONATENOW

 

comments powered by Disqus