BREAKING: Rescue of five moon bears happening right now in Vietnam

27 August 2018

An Animals Asia rescue team arrived in the small town of My Tho in Vietnam’s southern province of Tien Giang this morning to rescue five moon bears from a bear bile farm.

The bears were likely captured from the wild and have been held for at least 13 years in tiny cages so that their bile could be extracted for use as a traditional medicine.


At present the condition of the bears is unknown but previous rescues have revealed a litany of painful and debilitating diseases and disabilities – many of which can be terminal.

The rescue team contains experienced veterinarians and vet nurses who will be prepared for the worst.

Animals Asia Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“As with many rescues, we have no information about the bears at present – not even their genders. But we know they have never received any health care in the last 13 years of extreme captivity and abuse.

“Repeated bile extraction takes a huge toll on the bears’ health and our team will be ready for anything. Our primary goal will be to get them out of cages which were never designed to be opened, keep them alive and get them back to our sanctuary where high-quality care can begin.”

Once freed from cages, the bears will be transported 1,700km by truck to Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Vinh Phuc province where they expect to arrive on Friday 31 August.

Bear bile farming reached a peak in Vietnam in 2005 when over 4,000 bears were kept around the country on private farms.

However, years of campaigning culminated in the signing of a landmark agreement between Animals Asia and the Vietnam government in July, 2017 to close every bear bile farm and send all the bears to sanctuary by 2022.

Vietnam’s Traditional Medicine Association has also vowed to stop prescribing bear bile by 2020.

The latest figures from the Vietnamese government show the number of bears in private hands has fallen to approximately 800.

The five moon bears in Tien Giang province are being voluntarily handed over by their owner.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“More and more farmers are beginning to realise that bear bile farming is finished in Vietnam. Demand for bile is plummeting as people learn of the cruelty behind every vial, while the government has made it clear the end of the industry is just a matter of time.

“For these five bears, the end of suffering cannot come soon enough. Now we have to get them home to our sanctuary where their new lives can begin.”

To date Animals Asia has rescued 611 bears, mainly from bile farms, in Vietnam and China.

Over 170 bears currently live at the Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, the largest and oldest sanctuary for bears in the country.

You can follow the rescue as it happens on Animals Asia’s Facebook, Twitter and the dedicated rescue timeline.