Poachers left this sun bear orphaned and alone – now heroes have rebuilt her life

28 August 2017

From frightened cub illegally trafficked and heading for the bile trade, Layla is now a happy, healthy adolescent surrounded by loving siblings.

Three years ago, poachers killed sun bear Layla’s mother. They hoped to sell the cub into a lifetime of suffering either on a bear bile farm, or as an exotic pet.

That would have meant up to 30 years of pain and anguish for Layla.

But thanks to a string of heroes – from the forest protection officials who caught the traffickers, to the thousands of people around the world who support Layla’s ongoing care – today Layla is safe, loved and happy.

Layla and Goldie kisses

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

When she first arrived, there was no way of knowing how Layla would adjust to her new life. Would she ever be able to live with other bears? Or trust humans? Or find the courage to set paw in a grassy enclosure?

“Thankfully, she’s doing really well – embracing life and loving the companionship of the other sun bear orphans at the sanctuary.

“Layla now has her own family and spends her days rolling on the grass with fellow sun bears Sassy, Goldie and Murphy. She’s happy, healthy and loving life – and it’s all because people cared.”

Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre is currently home to 11 sun bears rescued by the authorities from bile farms, poachers and from captivity as exotic pets.

In Vietnam, bear bile farming has been technically illegal since 1992, with species-specific regulations enacted in 2005.

However, despite the ban, the industry continues to operate due to legal loopholes.

In summer 2017, a landmark legal agreement signed between Animals Asia and the Vietnam government hopes to completely eradicate bear bile farming in Vietnam within the next five years.

This article was amended to clarify that the MOU will run for five years from the date of the last signature.