Sun bear set for rescue in Vietnam after being a caged pet for seven years

17 August 2016

The little sun bear in the tiny cage for years (1)

Bought as an exotic pet while just a cub, this seven-year-old sun bear has only ever known life behind bars - until now.

Follow the rescue live here from 8am Vietnam Time, Thursday, August 17.

Tomorrow an Animals Asia rescue team will head to Nam Dinh province to rescue the female bear. She was originally bought by the current owner's father who has now passed away. His son - having learnt of the legal requirement to register bears - is keen to do the right thing and voluntarily hand over the bear.

While the illegality of the bear bile industry means that owners will routinely deny extracting bear bile, it’s believed that in this case, the bear has not suffered bile extractions.

However with bile farms still operating and with a market for bear parts for use in traditional medicine, the rescuers are thankful for the voluntary handover and keen for it to take part as soon as possible.

The bear will be given an anesthetic ahead of a transfer to a transport cage before being moved to Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre almost 200kms away.

The rescue is going ahead following liaison with the local Forestry and assistance from local charity ENV.

The bear has been named “Annemarie” by the rescuers - after their previous Bear and Vet Team Director and friend Annemarie Weegenaar who recently moved on after a decade in the post.

Tuan Bendixsen Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director said:

“At seven years old this is still a young bear and one that can enjoy a full life in the future. However, there is always a physical price to pay for these bears when they have suffered a lack of space, poor diet and inexpert care. Our vets will carry out a health check as part of the rescue to ensure Annemarie is safe to travel - and she’ll enjoy ongoing rehabilitation and vet care back at our sanctuary.”

It’s likely that this rescue can be completed inside a single day with the bear entering sanctuary quarantine the same day.

Animals Asia has rescued nearly 600 bears – the vast majority from the bear bile industry. Annemarie will be the 150th bear currently being cared for at the Vietnam sanctuary.

Around 1,200 bears are still caged in Vietnam by the bear bile industry with over 10,000 more in China.