Rescued bears stuck inside after storm damages sanctuary

22 August 2016

House 2

Animals Asia faces a repair bill and race to mend storm-damaged fences so bears rescued from bile farms can go outside at their sanctuary.

Seven bear enclosures were damaged by falling trees at Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary - where 150 bears, mostly rescued from bile farms, are cared for. On the morning after the storm almost 100 bears were without enclosure access due to damage. Today (Monday), 26 are still waiting to enjoy the sunshine that has followed the storms. 

Parts of the centre are also without power as lines were brought down by the storm.

Thankfully sanctuary protocol meant all bears were retained within dens due to the weather warnings - meaning there was never any danger of escape.

If you’d like to donate towards the cost of this repair and the running of Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary you can do so here.

On Thursday the sanctuary welcomed newly-rescued sun bear Annemarie. Shortly after she arrived the first storm hit, followed by tropical storm Dianmu on Friday. In surrounding areas many business and public facilities closed to allow people to go home and prepare for the storm.

Bear and Vet Team Director Heidi Quine said:

“The team were fantastic. Many bears prefer to stay inside once rain comes so it was no hardship for them to be secured away from the weather where they could rest in their baskets with the wind and rain swirling outside. Unfortunately the adverse weather means that several trees have come down – damaging a roof and perimeter fencing.

Bears inside the house (1)Bears inside the house (2)

“These will need to be rebuilt as soon as possible to avoid bears being in their dens too long. However staff will ensure that in the meantime the bears are distracted with extra ‘enrichment’ including treats, toys and extra greenery to nest with. Like all of us - if we can’t go outside we need more to occupy our time.”

The sizeable concrete bear houses - built to withstand all weather - kept the bears warm and dry, suffering only a few lost tiles.

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson said:

“The team are so professional they tend to make light of situations like this but it must have been a frightening experience. Especially for those living on-site and hearing trees crashing around them. It’s testimony to the quality of the facilities and the protocols we have that the bears were never in any danger.

“Repairing the fences will eat into funds used to run the centre and rehabilitate the bears on-site. Hopefully, however, the bears can go outside in a matter of days rather than weeks.”

Animals Asia runs sanctuaries in China and Vietnam and has rescued nearly 600 bears. It continues to care for almost 400.

Big tree down SB enclosureBig trees down House 2 back fence from a distanceBig tree down back of House 1 (SB)