Vietnamese-American TV and film star and entrepreneur Maggie Q returns to Vietnam to visit our Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre

07 October 2019

Maggie Q adopts and names a bear and pledges to help Animals Asia bring all of Vietnam’s bile bears to sanctuary by 2022.

At a special event Thursday afternoon at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park before Vietnamese and international media and special guests, Maggie Q, Hollywood star and entrepreneur, pledged to be the spokesperson for Animals Asia’s campaign to bring the remaining bears languishing on bear bilefarms across Vietnam home to sanctuary.

The media event followed two days of meetings where Vietnamese artists and stakeholders from across Animals Asia’s organisation came together to plan the next steps to be taken to bring home the last moon bears as bear bile farming is brought to an end by 2022.

During their visit, Maggie, local Vietnamese celebrities and other stakeholders were given a tour of the sanctuary.

(From R to L): Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson MBE, Maggie Q, and Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen

Maggie exclaimed:

“I've been coming to the sanctuary since 2009 when we first opened its doors together, which was quite a day. And in the 10 years since that opening this centre has grown by about five times. So many new bears and many second chances at life, and a sign that change is upon us.

“As a Vietnamese-American, I take particular pride in being here today talking about ending bear bile farming in the nation that is my ancestral homeland. What I love about the work being done here is that it is in partnership with the government. And so often animal advocates like myself don't always see eye to eye with governments on animal issues. And because that's not the case here, I want to take a moment to praise the Vietnamese Government for their foresight in realising that bear bile farming is a stain on our nation of Vietnam and therefore it is time for it to end. It makes me extremely proud to stand here today and be able to say that change is happening, in my country, in my mother's country, so a big thank you to them. 

“The task at hand is that Animals Asia and the government, hand in hand, need to bring about 600 bears to sanctuary by 2022. I'd like to announce that I have been invited to be the spokesperson for this campaign. And I'm honoured to have accepted. Today is just the beginning. I pledge my support and intend to work closely with Animals Asia on this effort.”

Maggie at VBRC

Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson said:

“We do love you, Maggie.You are the epitome of the real deal. A real environmentalist, a warrior who champions this world and her people and her animals.

“You’ve now become a long distance friend to a little bear called Solo who arrived with us on the 20th of June this year. She’d had bile extracted on a bile farm for 14 years before she eventually found herself on a construction site here in Vietnam for the past year. And today we want to thank you Maggie for coming all this way to give her her forever name, and for joining us at this most exciting time in the history of our whole operation to keep our original promise to bring bear bile farming finally, finally to an end. 

Today, Solo is well and happy and she has had a diseased gallbladder removed. She’s now being gently integrated along with other friends here in Tam Dao where she will never know pain and harm and suffering ever again."

Maggie was presented with a picture of her adopted bear. And in keeping with new beginnings, Maggie chose to name her new bear Phoenix, in honor of the new beginnings for 600 bears soon to occur at the sanctuary.

Phoenix (formerly Solo) named by Maggie Q

Maggie said:

“I’m choosing to name her Phoenix as an ambassador to every bear in the sanctuary and every one of the 600 that will be rescued by 2022, that they will rise from the ashes.”

Animals Asia Vietnam Director Dr. Tuan Bendixsen said:

“Animals Asia has been working in Vietnam since 2005 in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development represented by the Department of Forestry to set up and operate the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre.

“Currently the bear rescue centre is taking care of 183 bears. Apart from working on rescuing bears we are also collaborating with the Traditional Medicine Association to promote the use of herbal alternatives to bear bile.

Ending bear bile farming is a huge challenge and we need the collaboration and support of the government and supporters internationally and nationally and you all here today. So we can rescue about 600 bears who are still being kept in private facilities by 2022. Currently we’re working with the Forestry Department in developing those plans for the conservation of the bears."

Founder and CEO Jill Robinson added:

“Since we had the very welcome agreement with the Government’s Forestry Department to join them in ending bear bile farming in Vietnam, we have made fantastic progress and we are well on track to achieving that goal. 

“As the first group in Vietnam working to end bear bile farming as we’ve done since 1999 we are thrilled to have a formal agreement and an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Vietnam Government to achieve that objective by the year 2022, reaching the goal for which we were founded. I have to say it’s with great pride, as it’s not many NGOs that can say that.

“I would sincerely like to pay a huge tribute to our Vietnam Director Dr. Tuan Bendixsen who has led us to this most exciting point in Vietnam. 

“We are also receiving the most fantastic help from people both here in Vietnam and across the world and we’re honoured to be welcoming distinguished guests here today to join us in the hard work that commits us to fulfil this promise."

As the event concluded, Maggie and the other speakers invited all those who care about rescuing and protecting majestic moon bears tojoin our movement by pledging their support using the hashtag #MoonBearHeroes.

Please join us and donate today. Together we can help save and care for Asia’s most abused animals.

(From L to R): Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson MBE, Maggie Q, and Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen