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Watch these amazing rescued bears work together to get their favourite snack

02 October 2017

If there is one thing bears love, it’s eating fresh tasty leaves – and if they don’t feel they have enough, well they’ll just help themselves to some more.

One of the first acts of kindness a bear receives when rescued from a bear bile farm, is some fresh leaves.

Banana leaves are very popular and in abundant supply on the roadside during rescues. When passed into the transport cage of a recently rescued bear on its way to sanctuary – this simple item provokes a number of responses.

Some bears simply ignore the branch. They may have seen something similar through bars on a farm, but they have never touched one and have no idea what they might do with it.

Song Be is chilling with a length of banana leaf stem 2

But there is always one curious bear who will pull the green leaves in and start to paw them. Eventually they will play with, smell, taste and even make a more comfortable bed out of this most simple of objects.

For the other bears on the rescue this can be a revelation. Soon all the bears are gratefully pulling at the leaves and on rest stops some will be seen lying on their backs, resting on a soft bed of leaves.


A post shared by Animals Asia (@animalsasia) on Jun 27, 2017 at 2:04am PDT


Once rehabilitated at Animals Asia’s sanctuaries, leaves will continue to be a key part of the bears’ lives.

Their carers will make sure there is always a plentiful supply of a variety of leaves for them to explore, play with, nest in and eat.

But sometimes, plenty is not enough. And occasionally the bears will work together to enjoy a full on moon bear tree party.

One brave bear will climb a tree while the others gather below in anticipation. Once the climber reaches the branches, they’ll snap off as many as they can and pass them down to their friends below.

Parly is throwing down branches for Manga and Amara

Then the fun begins. Every bear in the group will join in the tree party, rolling on the leaves and branches, eating away to their hearts content and generally having a wonderful time.

Tree party on the groundManga snacks on a branch

Animals Asia Bear Manager Sarah van Herpt said:

“Seeing a moon bear tree party in action is food for the soul. There is clear cooperation going on and it is very special to see so many animals enjoying themselves together and making their own fun.

It’s naughty too of course. These trees provide much needed shade and tree climbing presents a risk to the trees as the bears just love to rip the bark to get the bugs and sap underneath. We do put tree protectors on the lowest parts of the trees to make them more difficult to climb, but bears are excellent climbers and if they are truly motivated, they will get up there. Turns out putting on a tree party for all their friends is great motivation.”

To date, Animals Asia has rescued nearly 600 bears – mostly from the bear bile industry – with around 270 bears continuing to live out their lives at sanctuaries in Vietnam and China. 

Bears quickly dismantling the Christmas trees 2Bears quickly dismantling the Christmas trees 2