The ten coolest rescued bear names ever

22 May 2015

Many of us have named cats and dogs, but if you were giving a bear a name, what would it be?

Bears rescued from the bile trade have never previously been given the dignity of a name. To their owners they were mere property, but once rescued, they are treated with the love and care each individual deserves.

Receiving a name for the first time is symbolic of a rescued bear’s rehabilitation. Here are some of our favourites from the more than 500 bears we have had the privilege of rescuing.

1/Weston Super Bear

This charismatic bear’s name puns wonderfully on Weston Super Mare, the home of his sponsors. Like the seaside town he’s named after, Weston Super Bear is a constant ray of sunshine at our China sanctuary.

Weston enjoys the great outdoors in his enclosure

2/ Marmite

Considering how much Brits, Kiwis and Aussies like to argue the merits of Marmite and Vegemite, it’s a bit of a surprise that moon bear Marmite was actually named by a supporter from New Zealand.

But while the yeast based spread is marketed as “you’ll love it or hate it” Marmite the bear is loved by all. This quiet bear is shy and tends to spend much of her time on the higher play structures, perhaps due to her awful past living scared and alone as a cub in a private zoo.

Marmite has become increasingly more relaxed and social during her time at the sanctuary and has even become very fond of swimming.

Marmite has a comfortable place to take a rest (2)

3/ Bottom

We’d like to tell you the meaningful and heartfelt story behind this special bear’s name, but you’re probably still too busy giggling about a bear called Bottom. Giving a bear a name is part of giving that bear an identity and recognising their value as an individual – but nobody said it couldn’t be funny. The name was chosen by a supporter who wanted to refer to “my bear Bottom”.

Bottom relaxing in his enclosure

4/ Merlin

Merlin brings a touch of magic to our Vietnam sanctuary and it suits this bear’s winning personality. He’s been described as a “stunner” and "as mad and happy as they come”, all of which is all right by us.

As one of the bigger bears at the sanctuary, Merlin is easy to recognise. He can usually be found floating on his back in the pool or wrestling with Bubu and Leika. There’s also some suspicion that Merlin is smarter than the average bear. Why? Because Bubu and Leika are two of the smallest bears around – making them perfect wrestling pals.

Merlin enjoying his pool (3)

5/ Derek

When we heard comedian Ricky Gervais wanted to name one of the Nanning bears we were overjoyed. The chosen bear had suffered badly during a life of imprisonment and bile extraction with his eyes clouded over, his tongue permanently lolling out, his paws painfully declawed and scars across his face. Yet behind his haunting appearance, this bear was soft, gentle and quickly learned to trust humans again when Animals Asia took over management of the facility. Ricky named the bear after the star of his latest hit programme, Derek. We think it’s a very fitting name as both TV Derek and moon bear Derek have hearts of gold.

Moon bear Derek, by Peter Yuen

6/ Chubby Mouse AKA Ti Map

This gorgeously ironic bear name suits its owner to a tee. Everyone knows Chubby Mouse by his Vietnamese name, Ti Map and he’s certainly a bear no-one can forget. Having been rescued from a solitary lifetime in a cage just last year, Ti Map has been slowly getting acclimatised to open spaces and other bears. It’s a learning process that has sadly seen Ti Map sometimes seem as timid as a mouse, but sanctuary staff are determined not to give up on Chubby Mouse and his long road to rehabilitation.

Chubby Mouse is yet to receive an official name from supporters. If you’re interested in giving him a name that will last the rest of his life, email us at and ask for information about our Name a Bear programme.

7/Winnie the Pooh

Named of course after one of the most famous bears of all time, this beautiful fluffy moon bear is every bit as endearing as her well-known namesake.

This Winnie the Pooh has a strong and cheeky personality and loves little more than to get the attention of the bear workers – especially when it’s time to go back into dens.

She’s even been known to walk up and down in front of the dens, occasionally stopping at the doorway and peeping in, as if to make sure that she has the attention of all the bear workers who are calling her name and throwing pieces of fruit to her, hoping that she’ll go inside. Once she is satisfied with all the fuss, she will just turn around and continue walking around in the enclosure happy as can be.

Pooh shaking in her pool

8/ Jigsaw

This is a truly lovely name for a bear – and a wonderfully apt one too. Animals Asia’s incredible supporters around the world are constantly coming up with new ways to fund our work to end bear bile farming. One of the most striking is Sally Rodd from Victoria whose website helps raise funds to give a lifetime of care to moon bear Jigsaw.

True to Jigsaw’s name, potential supporters buy a piece of the jigsaw puzzle, which added together make a full picture and a lifetime of care for Jigsaw. Beautiful.

Jigsaw hanging out in his enclosure at VBRC

9/ Kevin 

Everyone has a Kevin for a friend. A fun-loving, down to earth guy that’s fun to be around. Fittingly, our “smiling moon bear” Kevin fits this stereotype to perfection. He’s every bear’s best pal, is constantly in high spirits and loves helping the other bears get up to good-natured mischief.

Kevin playing with the puzzle feeder (6)

10/ Dick

“My name is Dick. It’s ok, you can smile…” Caroline Herd’s poem explains exactly why Dick is such an incredible bear, enjoying his salad days at our China sanctuary.

Bears rescued from bile farms and living out their days at Animals Asia’s sanctuaries receive their names through the Name a Bear programme.

A donation of US$20,000 covers everything in the first three years of the bear’s life, their medical care, food and enrichment – and of course the name stays with them forever.

While Name a Bear isn’t a option for most individual donors, there are also many clubs, work groups and sometimes even schools which set themselves this target for their fundraising in order to name and adopt their own bear. Bears have also been named in remembrance of animal lovers as a living tribute by family.

If you would like more information about how to Name a Bear, contact us at