An apple a day keeps bile farm nightmares away for rescued Amara

23 November 2015

When Amara first came to Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary in 2011, she wouldn’t eat all of her food.

She had just been rescued from a bear bile farm in southern Vietnam, and wasn’t used to this new food. She would often throw it around. She was “stereotyping” – engaging in repetitive behaviours that serve no obvious purpose, often consistent with an inappropriate environment. It was almost as if, after a lifetime of bile farm rice gruel, she wasn’t sure what to do with these new options.

Amara finds out an apple in her enclosure

Amara’s reaction to food has been closely linked to her recovery.

Amara eats an apple

Now she is one of the first bears out of her den in the morning, grabbing any fruit she comes across with both paws. Those paws are still scarred – most likely from the snare that took her from the wild in the first place. 

She especially loves apples, like the one she can be seen eating here.

Bear Manager Sarah Dempsey said: 

“Amara has really come into her own in the four years we’ve had her at the sanctuary. When she arrived, she was a lean, scrawny bear, who wasn't very interested in her food. It took time for her to get used to all the new tastes, textures and the presentation – she wasn’t used to having a bear-appropriate diet.

“As she’s become more comfortable here, she’s put on weight, and seeking out fruits and vegetables is a highlight of her day. She’s now a healthy, happy bear. We don’t have to worry about her too much, and can just enjoy watching her splash about in the pool.” 

If you are what you eat, then Amara is a healthy bear indeed.

Amara eats an appleAmara is about to eat a tomato after finishing the apple