Animals Asia rescues the last three bile bears in Lang Son province

25 June 2021

Animals Asia’s campaign to end the bear bile industry in Vietnam came one step closer today as we rescued the last three remaining bile bears in Lang Son province.

It’s another historic rescue that marks the ending of the bear bile farming industry in Vietnam which Animals Asia has been working tirelessly towards for decades.

Our team is alerted

Earlier this week, our Vietnam sanctuary team was alerted to the plight of three bears who were being farmed for their bile in the Lang Son province in north-east Vietnam.

We received footage that showed the clearly traumatised bears caged in a small, dark, concrete room. These bears had been hidden away from the world for over 16 years, suffering the pain of regular bile extraction.

We jump into action

The farmer was willing to give the bears up but we had only a few days to prepare and go get them.

Our rescue team left our Vietnam sanctuary at 4am local time today and arrived at Lang Son at 11am.

At the time of writing the team is heading back to our sanctuary with the bears and our sanctuary team is excitedly preparing for their imminent arrival.

The last bile bears in Lang Son are free

These three bears’ lives are about to change forever. They now have a future full of joy and hope, so we have named them Hy vọng (meaning Hope), Tương lai (meaning Future), and Vui (meaning Joy).

The bears will join hundreds of other rescued bears at our sanctuary, including another bear we rescued from Lang Son in 2019, the beautiful Phoenix.

Phoenix had been kept in extreme captivity since 2005 and was eventually abandoned on a construction site with deafening building work taking place all around her. Since arriving at our sanctuary she has learned to trust in the humans that care for her and is starting to rebuild her life.

Like Phoenix, our three bears will experience the kind of life that they’ve been denied all these years. They will finally be able to climb and forage and play, and they will be looked after, cared for and loved for the rest of their lives. 

One step closer to ending bear bile farming in Vietnam

Not only does this rescue signal a turning point in these bears' lives, it also marks an end to bear bile farming in Lang Son province, taking us another step closer to ending bear bile farming in Vietnam for good.

Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director said, “for years Animals Asia has been working side by side with the government under our exclusive agreement to end bear bile farming in Vietnam. We will continue to work with tenacity, kindness, empathy and respect to clear the remaining bile farms across the country’’.

Until every last bear is home

As part of that agreement, we’re about to enter the final stages of our mission, by building a second Vietnam sanctuary to house the hundreds of moon bears that remain trapped on bile farms in ever-shrinking pockets across the country. 

But for now, this is the beginning of a new life for Hy vọng, Tương lai and Vui. They can now look forward to a future filled with the hope and joy they so desperately deserve.

Read more:

BEAR RESCUE: Young moon bear rescued from Vietnam bile farming hotspot with just 12 hours’ notice

Moon bear Uno soaks up the sun for the first time in 18 years