Rescue team were up early for Sunset’s urgent rescue

12 April 2023

Late on Monday 10 April we received an urgent call from the Forestry Protection Department in Hai Phong province asking Animals Asia to prepare for the immediate rescue of a female moon bear from a farm in Haiphong – about 3 hours east of Tam Dao National Park, the home of our sanctuary. Always on alert, the Vietnam bear rescue team quickly swung into action – vowing that this would be the last Sunset this lonely, traumatized bear would spend locked in her cage on a bile farm.

Early Tuesday morning the team set out and found the poor girl in a narrow cage in a darkened room. With the cage floor rusted through, the team could not safely attempt to persuade this bear to consciously transfer to a transport cage without risk of her injury. Instead they were able to gently anesthetize her, and give her a quick health check at the rescue site, before moving her into the transport cage for the short journey home to her new life.

From the health check it was clear that she has some serious health issues that will need urgent attention. Her teeth are in a terrible state, with tartar, an abscess on her premolar and at least one canine tooth in need of root canal therapy. She has a very large scar and multiple, scratches across the back of her neck, abscesses on her paw pads, and at least one claw that is so long it has turned back into her paw pad. The ultrasound performed on the floor of the farm, next to the cage she’d clearly spent many years in, showed that her thickened gallbladder walls, and possible galls stones, are also a cause for concern, conditions we have seen in many bears who have suffered repeated bile extraction.

True to their word, the rescue team arrived back at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre before the day was out, ensuring that this precious bear, now named ‘Sunset’, would never again see the sun go down without feeling the love and care she so desperately deserved in all her lonely years of incarceration. For the first time since she was caged as a cub, once her crucial quarantine period is complete, she will get to know others of her kind, experience the opportunity to explore, forage, climb and play in the sun , with the grass beneath her feet and the cool breeze in her fur. 

With our new sanctuary at Bach Ma very nearly ready to receive rescued bears, the sun really is setting on the terrible bear bile industry in Vietnam. But there are still hundreds of bears, just like Sunset, that urgently need our help. And we know, every minute, they are suffering in cages on bile farms across Vietnam. But together with your support, we will ensure there is no bear left behind, and give them the taste of freedom they have been waiting for all their lives.

Read more:

The most broken bear we’ve seen in years: Dawn’s story

Five bears broken free from bile farm and brought to sanctuary

One Life: Bears