BREAKING NEWS: Urgent moon bear rescue underway in Vietnam

26 September 2018

Animals Asia’s rescue team were in Vietnam’s Lao Cai province Wednesday morning to rescue a single female moon bear from a small-scale bear bile farm.

The bear, named Sky by the rescue team, has been held in a tiny, barren cage on the farm since at least 2005 so that her bile could be periodically extracted for use in traditional medicine.

After at least 13 years of profiting from Sky’s captivity, her owner agreed to hand her over to Animals Asia, having become aware of the charity’s rescue centre while playing golf near the sanctuary.

After freeing Sky from her cage, the team will return immediately to Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Vinh Phuc province – a journey of approximately 250 kilometres.


Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“We have very little information about Sky’s physical and mental state, but we know from experience she is likely to be psychologically traumatised by more than a decade of extreme captivity and desperately in need of health care. She has been held just a day’s drive from the sanctuary, so we’ll get her straight to safety where vets can conduct a full investigation of her condition.”

Ex-bile farm bears typically suffer from a number of serious and life-threatening conditions such as cancer. In 2017, Animals Asia rescued a single moon bear, known as Rocky, from Lai Chau province, only to find she was suffering end-stage liver cancer.

Bear bile farming has been specifically illegal in Vietnam since 2005 when every bear in captivity was microchipped. However, without facilities to hold the over 4,000 bears on farms at the time, owners were permitted to keep their bears and the practice was able to persist.

However, in 2017, the government signed a landmark agreement with Animals Asia that will see every farm closed and the remaining 800 bears sent to sanctuaries by 2022 as the country works to eradicate the cruel trade.

Last month Animals Asia successfully rescued five moon bears from a farm in the far southern province of Tien Giang.

Having exposed and opposed bear bile farming since 1998, Animals Asia has rescued over 600 bears in Vietnam and China. Today, nearly 200 bears continue to live cruelty-free lives at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, while a further 192 are cared for by the charity in China.

Animals Asia’s work to rescue bears from the extreme cruelty of the bear bile industry and give them cruelty-free lives at our sanctuaries is entirely funded by the public. You can help Sky overcome cruelty, send a gift today.

Supporters can follow the #MoonBearMountainRescue as it happens via the rescue timeline, as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.