Animals Asia welcomes six more bears to our Vietnam sanctuary

21 December 2021

Today, just in time for Christmas, Animals Asia welcomed six beautiful bears including a cub to our Vietnam sanctuary. 

The bears, who we’ve named Angel, Noel, Giáng Sinh (meaning ‘Christmas’ in Vietnamese), Tuyết (meaning ‘Snow’), Thông (meaning ‘Pine tree’) and cub Pudding to honour the special time of their arrival, were transferred from the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre (HWRC) where they've lived since being rescued from the bile farming industry.

A long-standing relationship 

Animals Asia has worked closely with HWRC - a government-owned and-run wildlife sanctuary - for many years. We’ve provided specialist assistance and advice to support the rehabilitation of their rescued animals, including earlier this year when we met the precious moon bear cub, Pudding, for the first time.

The sweetest Pudding

In April 2021, Vietnamese Forest Protection Department rangers confiscated two small bear cubs from north western Vietnam and arranged for them to be taken to HWRC.

Both cubs were seriously ill, so the sanctuary staff called Animals Asia to ask for our help in giving them the best chance of survival.

Tragically, one of the cubs passed away before reaching the centre. So as soon as the remaining cub arrived at HWRC our team of veterinary and husbandry experts sprang into action, using all their skills, knowledge and experience to help this broken cub. 

Thankfully, the little cub who we’ve named Pudding, made it through the night and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We couldn’t save his sibling in time, but we were going to make sure Pudding had the very best life possible by providing ongoing advice to HWRC on bear cub nutrition and enrichment, and veterinary care.

Strengthening our reputation and partnerships

After 20 years of rescuing bears and running the only GFAS-accredited wildlife sanctuary in Vietnam, Animals Asia has become the go-to organisation for the government and other NGOs for our expertise in bear management, veterinary care and rehabilitation, and in captive animal welfare.

Our Captive Animal Welfare Team led by Dave Neale, has been providing comprehensive support, advice and guidance to HWRC to enhance the facilities for their rescued animals, for many years. 

Dave explains, “We’ve established a positive relationship with HWRC who have worked hand in glove with us to make vast improvements to the animals’ living spaces and daily lives. The staff have been keen to learn about animal sentience and welfare and have welcomed our suggestions for improvements whole-heartedly.”

Working together to rescue wildlife 

While Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary is a specialist centre for the rehabilitation of bears, HWRC is a multi-species facility that houses monkeys, tigers, myriad species of birds, porcupines, reptiles, turtles and otters.

After working with our veterinary, husbandry and animal welfare experts, HWRC realised that Animals Asia could provide the very best care for their five rescued moon bears and sun bear. And that by transferring the bears they would have more space to rescue other animals in desperate situations. 

Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director, said, “This recognition of Animals Asia’s expertise and subsequent request for our help by the government demonstrates their belief in our work and our commitment to providing world-class support for rescued bears.” 

“Having the government’s support will be invaluable over the coming years as we work with bear owners to encourage them to hand their bears over to our care. This is how we’re going to achieve our founding mission to end bear bile farming in Vietnam forever.”

Building a new bear sanctuary

With the addition of these six new beautiful bears, our Vietnam sanctuary is getting closer and closer to full capacity. We now have just four spaces left, and yet we need to rescue hundreds more bears.

We made a promise to not only the Vietnamese government and to ourselves, but to the hundreds of desperate bears who remain languishing in dark isolation on bile farms and ex-bile farms across the country. 

With your help, we will build a new sanctuary for these bears and as soon as we do, we can start to go out and get them, and leave no bear behind. Please help us keep our promise to these broken bears and give them a second chance to live the life they’ve been so cruelly denied, yet so desperately deserve.

Read more:

Animals Asia’s rescues in 2021