See what happens when sun bear cub Murphy has a bubble bath

27 May 2016

Orphaned by poachers, rescued from traffickers - sun bear cub Murphy needs lots of love from his new carers and some fun too - like a bubble bath! 

Murphy arrived at Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary as a whimpering six-week old cub just under a year ago - and if it hadn’t been for his rescuers there’s every chance he’d have spent his life in pain on a bear bile farm.

Since then Animals Asia has helped turn his life around. While his carers have helped fill the hole left by the loss of his mother, meeting fellow sun bear cub Goldie has also meant he has a pal for life for company, fun and games.

The bubble bath is part of his on-going “enrichment”. Animals Asia cares for almost 400 bears rescued from the bile industry. A large part of that care, in sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, is about keeping minds active - which means new foods, smells and toys on a daily basis.

For cubs, experience has shown that a bubble bath - of a “no tears” baby variety - is just fascinating and lots of fun too.

Annemarie Weegenaar, Animals Asia Vietnam Bear and Vet Team Director explained:

“It’s very funny to watch but there’s a serious reason behind providing the bubbles. Without their mother and without a safe place to release bears like Murphy - they will spend their lives in sanctuaries. From day one that means not just making sure they eat well and are free from pain - it also means ensuring they are physically and mentally challenged and each day is different. That means hiding treats for them to sniff out, it also means new toys or climbing frames. It means different greenery during different seasons for them to eat and nest with.

“For cubs it also means the occasional bubble bath. Choosing a brand usually used for children’s bath times means it won’t sting his eyes or make him sick. He has so much fun.”

The footage was filmed by Bear Manager Kelly Donithan. She said:

“While cubs are so cute, there are few things more heartbreaking than a whimpering ball of fur who needs their mother so badly. We can never replace her, but what we can do is help bears like Murphy grow up big and strong and ensure that every day is an adventure. That’s important for a cub like Murphy as well as for bears decades older. Daily variety in the form of treats, surprises, and diverse opportunities for the bears to use all their senses and have ‘fun’ are vital parts of all their lives.”

Animals Asia has rescued almost 600 bears from the bear bile industry. Bear bile is used in traditional medicine. Over 1,200 bears are still caged in bile farms in Vietnam and over 10,000 more in China.