One bear closer to ending bear bile farming in Vietnam

17 October 2020

Animals Asia has moved one bear closer to its goal of ending bear bile farming in Vietnam, with the rescue of a bear from the district of Phúc Thọ on Thursday. 

Following 18 years in heart-breaking captivity, moon bear Uno has been rescued from a life surrounded on six sides by cage bars with no sky above and no grass below him.

The male Asiatic black bear (or ‘moon bear’) is one of nine bears thought to be held captive on bile farms in the area according to the Forest Protection Department (FPD), and was handed over by a family who had held the bear captive in a cage for 18 years.

Uno is one of many bears that need your help. Donate now to support Uno’s recovery and our efforts to end bile farming in another Vietnam hotspot.
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#UnoRescue - Uno in farm cage

The rescue was a significant step towards our goal as it took place just minutes down the road from Phung Thuong Village, the largest bear bile farming region in Vietnam, where 146 bears remain caged for bile extraction.

Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia Vietnam Director, said:
“We’re hopeful that this voluntary surrender of this bear is a sign of changing attitudes towards bile farming in the area”, said Tuan.  “We’ve named this bear ‘Uno’ as a reminder that he is one of many we need to rescue to make this region, and Vietnam, bile farm free.”

Uno’s rescue is also a testament to the amazing power of Kindness in Action that you’ve made possible. Uno’s keeper now wants a better life for Uno. They know that Animals Asia can provide the care that Uno needs and truly deserves. These voluntary surrenders are the best kind of rescue, because it shows other bile farmers that there is another, kinder way forward.

#UnoRescue - treats and initial inspection

Animals Asia has an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnamese government to end bear bile farming by 2022, and rehome over 400 bears still captive on bile farms throughout the country. 

#UnoRescue - beautiful Uno

The location of the cage where the bear had been kept for 18 long years since he was a cub in 2002 presented challenges for the rescue team. The room was at the back of the building, with no windows and only one entrance which was a solid concrete doorway of around 70cm wide - too narrow for the transport cage to get through. “This means we could not conduct our preferred ‘cage to cage’ rescue technique where we attach two cages together and encourage the bear to walk through into our transport cage”, said team Veterinarian, Rachel Sanki. “Instead, we had to anaesthetise him to carry him out through the doorway - which took quite a few of us as Uno is a big bear who we estimate to be around 200kg.”

#UnoRescue - Uno carried though a corridor

Although not the preferred method, anesthetizing the bear did mean the Vet team could do a quick health check on Uno.  “He has a very curved lower spine which will be due to arthritis from confinement, so he cannot lie flat when on his back’” said Rachel. “From an initial ultrasound, it’s clear that Uno's gall bladder is diseased. He will require medical treatment for this and may need surgery to remove the gall bladder at a later date.”

#UnoRescue - Health Check

Uno was safely loaded into the transport cage and taken to Animals Asia’s award-winning Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao, where he will spend 45 days in quarantine before joining the other 187 bears being cared for at the sanctuary.
#UnoRescue - arrives at VBRC

In a year when Covid-19 has made the devastating effects of wildlife exploitation painfully clear to all of us, this is another positive step towards ending one terrible aspect of that wildlife trade.

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We’ve named Uno not as a number, but as an individual and with your help, we’re going to make sure he’s treated as one.

#UnoRescue - Uno begins quarantine