Four more bears rescued by Animals Asia in Vietnam bringing total to 209

28 June 2019

Vietnam’s most experienced bear rescue team successfully freed four endangered moon bears from a lifetime of exploitation by the circus and tourism industries.

An Animals Asia rescue team arrived at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre at 3.45pm today (Friday 28 June) with four endangered moon bears rescued from a resort in Khanh Hoa province.

The bears had been freed from the resort on Tuesday and travelled 1,400 kilometres by road to Animals Asia’s Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries’- accredited facility.

Visual examination of the bears by veterinarians has revealed they are suffering signs of neglect and cruelty with prominent scarring, visual impairment, sparse fur and potential malnutrition all evident.

Resort staff could not explain how long the moon bears – a protected species under Vietnamese law – had been in captivity, nor how old they were or how they had been obtained. But they did claim some of the bears had previously been used in circus performances.

Vet Nurse Kelly is distracting the bear in cage

Animals Asia Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“Tragically, the abuse of bears as bile victims, exotic pets, circus animals and tourist draws has been widespread in Vietnam for decades and the authorities are only now beginning to get a handle on the situation. 

“Our work to completely end bear bile farming in the country by 2022 is already having a domino effect on these other illicit industries and is ensuring that every bear being exploited or mistreated is sent to sanctuary.”

Please donate towards the ongoing care of these five long-abused bears. Send a gift today.

The rescue of moon bears Lily, Phuong, Sweet Pea and Scooby from the resort, follows the rescue last week of moon bear Solo who was being kept on a construction site for bile extraction and as an exotic pet. 

In April, Animals Asia also rescued moon bear cubs Sugar and Spice, who were found to be performing on stage at Vietnam’s most well-known circus, as well as Amy who passed away shortly after rescue due to the extreme cruelty she endured on a bear bile farm for nearly 15 years.

In December 2018, the charity rescued sun bear Aurora who had been kept as an exotic pet for 15 years. Aurora is now happily integrated with a group of five other young sun bears at Animals Asia’s sanctuary.

Animals Asia has now rescued eight bears in 2019 – and 209 since the charity pioneered steps to protect and rescue bile farm bears in Vietnam in 1999.

Moon bears Lily, Phuong, Scooby and Sweet Pea will now begin a 45 - day quarantine period before being moved to large indoor dens and eventually being integrated with other bears in large outdoor enclosures.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson MBE said:

“We may never know the truth behind the poaching, selling and exploitation of these four bears but it was clear that if we didn’t step in to save them now, they could have ended up on bile farms or perhaps back in circuses.

“Instead they will live out their days in the peace and safety of our award-winning sanctuary in Vietnam. We are proud to be offering the highest level of care and commitment to our new family, and Lily, Scooby, Phuong and Sweet Pea will now be showered with love and respect. From now on their needs come first.”

A rescue is just the beginning. 

All our rescued bears need special ongoing care and treatment. And now we have five more hungry bear bellies to fill and higher medical bills.

Please donate towards the ongoing care of these five long-abused bears. Send a gift today.