Spread over an area of 12 hectares, the sanctuary has over 10,000 square metres of seminatural outdoor enclosure space designed to stimulate the bears’ natural behaviour. There are two double bear houses each containing two rows of conjoined concrete dens. Each row of dens opens onto a large outdoor enclosure with pools, trees and various types of bearproof structures and furniture designed to aid rehabilitation. There are also two houses with no outdoor access, a polytunnel area with cages for housing bears recovering from surgery, and an undercover area that provides temporary housing space for new arrivals in large cages.
As the team in Vietnam regularly receives cubs confiscated from wildlife traders or poachers, we have also constructed a 280-sq-m cub house with a 900-sq-m outdoor area split into seven enclosures. Furnished with cub-sized wooden sleeping platforms, the cub dens house young bears until they are mature enough to be integrated with the adults.The sanctuary’s surgical facilities and hospital are equipped with the latest ultrasound equipment, on-site blood testing facilities and gaseous anaesthesia to give the rescued bears the best possible chance of recovery.
The Tam Dao rescue centre has been built to strict environmental guidelines and with architecture sympathetic to the park environment and local customs. We have also installed two state-of-the-art waste water treatment systems to recycle and reuse water. Designed to handle a daily capacity of 70 cubic metres, the system treats and recycles domestic wastewater and wastewater from the bear dens, purifying both in a low-maintenance natural biological treatment process involving sedimentation, floatation, and the breakdown of materials using bacteria and sunlight – all of which helps ensure that our facilities do not deplete or pollute the local water supply.
Many of the enrichment furnishings and toys the bears enjoy in their enclosures have also been made from local materials and built onsite by our own bear horticulture team.
Phase 2 of the sanctuary will include more dens and semi-natural outside enclosures, as well as rehabilitation areas for our special-care bears. Once development is completed, the rescue centre will be able to house 200 bears.