After rescue from cruelty, moon bear best friends enjoy a sanctuary spa day

22 August 2019

kim and little jane enjoy a spa day 2

Long-term cruelty left moon bear Kim too scared to play, but now she splashes in the pool with her best friends.

When moon bear Kim was rescued from a bear bile farm in Vietnam in 2018, she had endured at least 13 years of extreme captivity and cruelty.

Once safely at Animals Asia’s sanctuary, the long process of rehabilitation began as her pain was removed, she regained her strength and learned how to be a bear again.

Many bears recovering from cruelty struggle to build up the courage to step out into large outdoor areas, but for Kim, open spaces and nature were to be relished as her instincts quickly returned.

But other bears were a different matter. For months, Kim made it clear she was not ready to make friends with other bears.

At Animals Asia’s sanctuaries, rescued bears live in large communities of up to 22 individuals and carers have to patiently assuage which bears are likely to get on.

But now, Kim’s carers have found the perfect community for her – a small group of just four elderly bears who prefer a quieter life to some of the younger, more boisterous bears.

Animals Asia Bear Manager Amanda Catwell said:

“It was a real struggle for Kim to find a community of bears she was comfortable with, but as soon as she met Little Jane it was love at first sight.

“Little Jane instantly started sniffing and nuzzling Kim and they spent a lot of time wrestling and playing with each other. Since then, their relationship has gone from strength to strength and it was beautiful to see them both explore their bubble-filled paddling pool together when we gave them special enrichment – they looked like two friends having a spa day!”

Also in the enclosure is Moggy and Mama – two of the first bears ever rescued by Animals Asia in Vietnam.

Mama and Moggy hanging out in their enclosure at VBRC 2

Amanda said:

“Kim also gets on well with Moggy, but Mama grumbles at her from time to time. The peace is kept by Kim’s best friend Little Jane and by Moggy who quickly comes to smooth over any upsets whenever Mama gets a little grumpy.

Having rescued over 600 bears from the bear bile industry in China and Vietnam, Animals Asia’s teams are world experts in caring for bears recovering from extreme cruelty.

While open spaces and opportunities to express natural behaviours are key factors in boosting the welfare of rescued bears, Animals Asia’s bear care teams have found that relationships with other bears to be hugely beneficial.

Animals Asia was the first charity to address the issue of bear bile farming in Vietnam having worked in the country since 1999.

The charity’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre welcomed its first residents in 2007 providing a vital alternative to bears in desperate need of rescue.

A decade after opening the Vietnam sanctuary’s doors, the organisation’s work culminated in 2017 when Animals Asia became the Vietnam government’s official partner to end bear bile farming in the country.

Animals Asia is now leading a monumental project which will see every bear rescued and every farm closed in Vietnam by 2022.

Moon bears desperately need our help. They are the most playful, but also the most exploited bear on Earth and none of their suffering is necessary.

Bears like Precious should never have to suffer endless bile extraction for traditional medicine. But they have no voice, and need you to stand up for them.

Sign the pledge to join the global movement against cruelty to moon bears and join thousands of #MoonBearHeroes pushing for change.