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Miomojo Cub House: Playtime shows there is life after poaching for young sun bears

30 April 2019

Healing the psychological damage of being poached is not easy, but the happy, natural lives of these bears shows new lives are possible.

While the six rescued sun bears in Animals Asia’s Miomojo Cub House all have different backgrounds, they also have something in common: they were poached from the wild as cubs.

From there some suffered as exotic pets for many years while others were intercepted by the authorities at an early stage. But all six were rescued by Animals Asia and started new lives in the green surroundings of the charity’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre.

This is when the real work begins: the daily struggle to meet the particular needs of each bear to give them the happiest lives we possibly can.

For bears rescued as cubs such as Murphy and Goldie this can often be relatively straight forward. These well-adjusted young bears have never known extreme cruelty. Instead they have grown up in a sanctuary surrounded by friends, with opportunities to express natural emotions every day.

A seat with a view

They require a constantly changing diet of fresh, nutritious food, a never-ending variety of play items, and the chance to forage, play, climb and explore in their outdoor enclosure every single day.

But for bears such as Annemarie, who languished in a nearly pitch-black shed for many years, trauma is a daily reality. Her carers are constantly monitoring how she is coping and adjusting their behaviours accordingly.

When she was struggling to adjust to a new space, they gave her time there alone before being joined by other bears. And on days when she still can’t face going out into the enclosure, her den has everything she needs to keep comfortable. The team don’t add extra toys for staying in, as that could reinforce the behaviour, but dens can contain puzzle feeders, a paddling pool or simply leaves and hay to make a comfy nest.

As a result Annemarie is now happy to spend most of her days outside in the enclosure with all her bear friends.

This daily care is made possible by the sponsorship of compassionate people around the world chipping in what they can, and the dedicated support of Miomojo, a responsible fashion company which part-sponsors the care of the cub house bears.

Animals Asia Vietnam Bear and Vet Team Director, Heidi Quine said:

“There is nothing more satisfying than watching the rescued bears enjoying their new lives. When they forage in the rain, eagerly exploring every last inch of the enclosure as if it was their first time, you realise that it is all worth it.

“The daily care, the constant vigilance, the sleepless nights wondering how to help a particularly troubled individual…once we see them out there playing we know that we can never turn our backs on a single bear. Each individual is so unique, so precious and so unconditionally in love with life. They teach us how precious every happy day truly is.”

For moon bear cubs Sugar and Spice, rescued last week from Hanoi’s Central Circus, the happy lives of sun bears Murphy, Goldie, Layla, Annemarie, Sassy and Aurora are a beacon of hope.

They remind us that no matter how much suffering a bear has endured, we can give them the happy new lives they deserve. Over time, with constant dedication and the support of animal lovers the world over, we can heal some of the trauma and make their lives worth living. 

The Miomojo Cub House has been part-funded for the last 12 months by Miomojo – a responsible fashion company from Italy making gorgeous fashion accessories that don’t harm animals or the environment. Their Ethicool collection is available now.

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