He rubbed his face away on the bars that caged him - now this bear is smiling in the sun

15 February 2016

Quantock must have thought he’d die in that cage - but one day a taste of honey was the first hint his hell would soon be over.

Jill fed Quantock honey as we found him

It was a life on the bear farm so painful, so frustrating, and so constrained that Quantock started to slowly destroy himself.

He literally wore his face down – rubbing it against the bars of his cage till there was little left but a bloody pulp. No vet care meant it didn’t heal - so he lived with the disfigurement and the pain for years on a bear bile farm in China. If the confinement wasn’t enough he also faced daily bile extractions from an open wound.

Then one day the miracle, that he must long since have given up on, happened.

In 2003 he was rescued by Animals Asia – a slurp of honey to calm him and then he was lifted, still in that tiniest of cages, onto a rescue truck.

Quantock arrived at CBRC in 2003

His rehabilitation saw him move into progressively larger spaces. To step straight out into the open spaces would be more than any bile farm bear could handle so he went from farm cage to larger transport cage. Then out into a den where he could actually stand up.

Quantock hangs out in his enclosure at CBRC

Meanwhile vets made sure he was no longer in pain and his wounds finally healed. He even benefitted from the very generous service of soft skin specialist Dr Dick White who helped to heal a horrible hernia with wire mesh.

Quantock during a health check

With his strength returning he was able to pull himself up into his hanging basket bed on the wall. Then he was introduced to his first ever bear friend and, months after that rescue, he was ready to go out into the sunshine and make new friends. Friends he has never stopped playing with because Quantock loves, more than anything, to wrestle.

Quantock April 2012 by Julie ONeillQuantock plays with a ball

It’s been over a dozen years since he arrived and Quantock is now a senior sanctuary bear. Animals Asia can’t be sure how long he spent cages on that bile farm but it’s likely he’s now spent more of his life free than caged.

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson said:

“Quantock is a beautiful bear in every way that matters and has become one of the bears that sanctuary life revolves around. Every group of wrestling bears, every ‘tree party’ where a bear climbs up and throws branches down - Quantock is there in the pack. The way he looks is a permanent reminder of what he went through, but it’s the only reminder – and every time we see him in the enclosure, we tell him how wonderfully handsome he is. He’s been so strong and brave in shaking off his past – and loves his life today.”

Meanwhile Animals Asia’s vets continue to watch out for this special bear. A year ago he was called in for a tooth extraction, checks on his creaking old bones and his hernia. Thankfully the vets were able to give Quantock a clean bill of health which meant he could carry on wrestling.

Quantock tastes a leafQuantock with a tyre

Animals Asia has rescued almost 600 bears from bile farms but over 10,000 remain caged in Chinese bile farms. Please donate today to the cost of our campaign to end bear bile farming or consider sponsoring a bear like Quantock at one of our sanctuaries in China or Vietnam. You can help end this cruelty.

Animals Asia continues to care for 389 bears rescued from the bear bile trade.