Rescued moon bear Precious free of pain after dental surgery

13 November 2018

Senior Veterinary Surgeon Shaun Thomson carries out health check for Precious

She has her first ever name and now she’s free from pain, but moon bear Precious remains wary of humans after years of abuse.

She suffered 17 years of isolation and pain on a bear bile farm, but swiftly after being rescued and brought to sanctuary, moon bear Precious is now pain-free.

During her first health check at the sanctuary, vets removed her fractured and infected lower canine tooth as well as three other teeth suffering from disease.

broken teeth and tartar (found on rescue)

Her remaining teeth were cleaned and a healthy diet of crunchy vegetables suitable for the species, along with regular health checks, will ensure her teeth remain clean so that dental pain doesn’t return.

Animals Asia Senior Veterinary Surgeon Shaun Thomson said:

“The procedure to remove Precious’s damaged teeth went very well and will greatly improve her quality of life as she no longer has to cope with constant agony.

“Thankfully, closer inspection of her gallbladder – so often damaged by bile extraction – showed the organ was less compromised than first feared and currently doesn’t require surgery.”

Following the medical procedures, Precious returned to an indoor den where she will recover and continue her 45-day quarantine period.

While still kept separate from other bears to maintain quarantine, Precious does now have visual contact with other recently rescued bears Mekong, Star, Kim, Mai and LeBON from August’s #FiveLives rescue and Sky from the #MoonBearMountainRescue in September.

Animals Asia Bear Manager Sarah van Herpt said:

“Precious is still very wary of humans after all she’s suffered. We continue to work on building trust with her on a daily basis, but trust takes time. It’s very likely her rehabilitation will be a much longer process than for other recently rescued bears, but we won’t give up on her. She’ll get all the time she needs.”

After completing a 45-day quarantine period, Precious’s rehabilitation will see her eventually introduced to other bears, and, when she is physically and psychologically ready, she will receive access to a large outdoor enclosure.

A day in the life of bears at VBRC

Moon bears such as Precious are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, and categorised as endangered by CITES. More than 10,000 are held on bear bile farms in China, and around 800 are also trapped in cages as part of the industry in Vietnam.

Animals Asia began to take on the issue of bear bile farming in Vietnam in 1999, opening its Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC), the first sanctuary devoted to bears in that country, in 2008.

In 2017, the government signed a landmark partnership agreement with Animals Asia that will see every farm closed and the remaining approximately 800 bears sent to sanctuaries by 2022 as the country works to eradicate the cruel trade.

Having exposed and opposed bear bile farming since its founding in 1998, Animals Asia has rescued over 600 bears in Vietnam and China. Today, nearly 200 bears continue to live peaceful lives at Animals Asia’s VBRC, while a further 190 are cared for by the nonprofit organisation in China.