Endangered moon bear rescued just as news arrives of four more bears in peril

20 June 2019

As rescued moon bear Solo arrives at Animals Asia’s sanctuary, word comes of four moon bears in urgent need of rescue from a tourist resort. 

An Animals Asia rescue team arrived back at their Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre yesterday around 4pm local time following a mercy dash to save an abandoned moon bear in Lang Son city.

The moon bear has been kept in extreme captivity since at least 2005 and spent the last year abandoned on a construction site with deafening building work taking place around her.

A preliminary visual evaluation by vets at the scene reported that the bear – named Solo by rescuers – is underweight, with a thinner than normal coat and suffering at least one suspected dental issue.

Animals Asia Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“We found Solo in the midst of the chaos, noise and dust of a live construction site. It’s impossible to think of a more unsuitable environment for a bear. Thankfully, we were able to remove her from this cruelty and very quickly got her home to the safety of our sanctuary.

“If we hadn’t been able to step in when called upon by the authorities, Solo would still be languishing in that cage, waiting to die. Instead a whole new life is beginning for her. Now the really hard work begins: health assessment, rehabilitation, integration, and a lifetime of love and care. Solo deserves nothing less.”

Solo with banana leaves during journey to sanctuary

And just as Solo was being rushed into the sanctuary quarantine area where she will spend the next 45 days, Animals Asia received word of four moon bears trapped at a resort who desperately need help.

The bears are languishing in Yang Bay Park resort, around an hour’s drive from popular international tourist destination, Nha Trang.

The resort has decided to close down their bear display area, leaving the future of the bears in peril.

It is not clear how long the four bears of unknown gender have been kept at the resort, nor what kind of management and care they have been subjected to. But it is clear that the resort no longer sees a financial future in them and that all four risk becoming victims of the bear bile or wildlife tourism industries.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“After many years of commercial exploitation, the long-term care of these bears is now in complete limbo and it’s vital we make sure they don’t fall into even more callous hands. We’ll fight to the end to ensure the exploitation of these amazing animals ends now and are ready at a moment’s notice to launch a rescue.

“If we don’t come to their rescue now, the fear is they could end up languishing at an under-resourced zoo, or worse still fall victim to the bear bile or circus industries. It’s clear  we need to get them to sanctuary as soon as possible.”

If confirmed, the rescue is expected to take place on Tuesday 25 June. The rescue team will then begin a 1,400 kilometre journey northward back to Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre – the only Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries-accredited facility in the country – arriving on Friday 28 June.

READ MORE: Five things you need to know about bear bile farming

Animals Asia was the first charity to address the issue of bear bile farming in Vietnam having worked in the country since 1999. 

The charity’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre welcomed its first residents in 2007, providing a vital alternative to bears in desperate need of rescue.

Decades of work culminated in 2017 when Animals Asia became the Vietnam government’s official partner to end bear bile farming in the country.

Animals Asia is now leading a monumental project which will see every bear rescued and every farm closed by 2022.

When we get an urgent call about a bear, or two, or ten in need, we must act fast! Your gift could help send an emergency rescue team to a desperate bear or provide much needed ongoing care. Please, donate today.