Four rescued bear cubs find happiness at Animals Asia’s sanctuary

22 March 2022

Wonder, Marvel, Yen and Pudding were victims of the illegal wildlife trafficking trade. Torn from their mothers at just a few weeks old, they were thrown into tiny cages to be sold to the highest bidder. But just as they were facing a terrifying future, Animals Asia rescued Wonder, Marvel, and Yen, and Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre rescued Pudding.

First few weeks at sanctuary

The first few days at our sanctuary were understandably difficult for the cubs. Terrified, confused, and desperately missing their mums, they paced, swayed their heads and sucked their paws - typical signs of distress in captive animals.

Our bear care team took it in turns to look after the cubs day and night. They quietly sat with them, gently offering food and natural enrichment, and talking to them in calm, soothing and reassuring voices.

Baby steps

After a few weeks, the cubs had developed good appetites, were playing with the natural toys we gave them, and their distressing behaviour had eased. Yen showed a particular interest in hessian sacks and played with them for hours, while Marvel, despite being very nervous when he first arrived, loved the noisy toys the most!

They were ready to move to the special area of our sanctuary that’s reserved for our smallest and youngest bears, the Cub House!

The cubs were moved to their own dens which were joined together but separated by sliding doors, so they could hear, smell and see each other from the safety and comfort of their own spaces. 

Once again we gave the cubs as much time as they needed to get used to their new rooms, introducing toys and enrichment such as bubble baths to keep their growing bodies and minds active and entertained. 

In fact, Wonder loved her first bubble bath so much that a video of her losing herself with joy and abandonment as she splashed about with the warm, fluffy bubbles went viral!

Cub play date

When the cubs had settled into their own dens and our bear care team were certain they were ready, the four cubs were introduced to each other in pairs, and eventually as a group.

Sarah van Herpt, Senior Bear Team Manager explains, “At first Wonder was cautious and shy, it took her a few weeks to let her guard down, but Marvel, Yen and Pudding were playing as if they’d been best friends for years. Pudding in particular is simply in love with his new playmates!”

The great outdoors

Eventually, Wonder joined in the fun and after a few days of playing and hanging out together in their dens, the four friends were ready for their next big adventure: going outside together!

As with every new step these incredibly brave little bears had to take, they were hesitant when the doors to their outside enclosure were opened. They stood back, sniffing the fresh air and looking to each other for guidance, encouragement and support. 

But as we’d seen many times already with these curious and incredibly resilient cubs, they slowly started to venture outside the comfort of their dens and onto the lush, fresh grass. After chomping on the tasty treats our bear care staff had laid out to encourage them into the enclosure, they were soon rolling around, playing and running after each other without a care in the world. 

Wonder, Marvel, Yen and Pudding have come such a long way, and been through so much in their short lives. Thanks to the incredible kindness of Animals Asia’s supporters, we were able to reach them before it was too late and bring them to our award-winning sanctuary where they will be loved and cherished for the rest of their lives. 

Read more

Wonder’s rescue | Marvel’s rescue | Yen’s rescue | Pudding’s move to our sanctuary