Get the latest from our intrepid team in Vietnam… and some exciting news

07 May 2021

Although we can’t physically travel at the moment, why not come with us on a virtual trip to Vietnam to find out what our awesome team has been up to so far this year? 

As well as running our award-winning bear sanctuary and caring for the 185 furry residents, our Vietnam team also carries out a whole host of activities and events that aim to drive change for both captive wild and companion animals in the country. 

An exciting start to the year

We’re kicking off today’s update of their busy schedule with the exciting news that after years of searching and negotiations, the team has secured a location for Animals Asia’s new bear sanctuary!

The new location is in Bach Ma National Park, approximately 800km south of our current sanctuary in Tam Dao, northern Vietnam. The park offers 17 hectares of land which will enable us to build enough enclosures for 300 bears who still remain on bile farms in the country and need rescuing as part of our plan to end bear bile farming in the country.. 

Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said, “Animals Asia’s primary goal in Vietnam is to end bear bile farming in the country forever. By securing the location for our new sanctuary we are one step closer to achieving that goal and ensuring every last bear that is used for bile farming is no longer treated as a commodity, but is recognised as the unique, sentient beings they are.”

Location, location, location

A critical aspect of bear welfare is making sure both individuals and groups of bears are happy and content. Just like us, bears have their own personalities, preferences and needs and want to be with like-minded companions. So we sometimes move them around to see how they get on with different groups.

Zebedee and Bubu moved to our Little Toy Bear House, a previously all-female bear house, while Mary and Bailey moved to see if a change in environment and social grouping might better support their wellbeing.

The gorgeous Florence and Clara were integrated with a new bear house and although they appeared somewhat ambivalent about their new housemates, the other bears welcomed them warmly. Uno also relocated to a new house and is loving playing with housemate P.J.!

Change through education

A huge part of our Vietnam team’s - and indeed Animals Asia’s - work is promoting kindness towards animals and raising awareness of animal welfare through education. 

We regularly engage with local communities, schools, universities and government agencies both at local venues and at our bear rescue centre.

Earlier this year we trained 34 teachers from 25 schools as part of our ‘Train the Teacher’ programme, which educates teachers on how to raise awareness of animal sentience among their students.

These wonderful educators then took what they had learned back to their classrooms and ran a wide variety of activities and sessions that were both fun and educational.

One teacher even started a herb garden at her school for the students to grow plants that can be used as alternatives to bear bile.

Back at the sanctuary we invited 139 students to learn about bear protection and how they can help care for and protect bears both today and in the future.

Heroes to all bears

As well as looking after the bears at our sanctuary, our amazing team regularly offers support to other animal venues.

Over the last few months our bear care and vet team worked with Hoang Lien National Park and the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre to help them refurbish their bear facilities and create new enrichment structures to keep the residents entertained and stimulated.

A sad goodbye and a warm welcome

As anyone who works with or loves animals knows, the hardest part is when they leave us. Earlier this year the team were deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Bibi.

Rescued from a bear farm at the tender age of seven, Bibi spent ten happy and contented years with us at our Vietnam rescue centre, and we are so happy that we were able to give her the best years of her life.

But as we said goodbye to Bibi, we were overjoyed to welcome a new resident to the sanctuary, the sweet Lam. With just 12 hours’ notice, our team jumped into action to rescue Lam who was being held illegally on a bile farm.

Thank you to our wonderful supporters across the world who gave Bibi and Lam new and happy lives away from the misery of bile farming.

Next time: Join us as we venture into the unchartered waters of our captive animal welfare program!

Read more:

Behind the scenes at the sanctuary ending bear bile farming in Vietnam

Today is the fourth anniversary of Hercules John’s rescue and with it the end of bear bile farming in Quang Ninh province in Vietnam

Two more bears rescued in Survival Rescue named in memory of those lost in recent Vietnam floods