With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our beloved Tulip

06 June 2024

It is with heavy hearts we bring you the news that our gorgeous Tulip bear, who we recently rescued from over 20 years on a bear bile farm and was so eagerly embracing her new-found freedom, has sadly passed away.

Unlike with Thang Long and Ha Long, who we also recently lost after rescuing them from a tourist park, Tulip seemed to be in good health. She was alert, bright, responsive, and was showing no signs of discomfort or pain.

Once she felt comfortable and realised she was in a good, safe place, her wonderful personality started to emerge and she quickly became known for her easygoing, gentle and friendly nature. She was a real water baby, and was often found scooping water out of her drinking bowl and splashing it on her belly!

Even though she only had one front paw, our active girl took full advantage of the browse, toys and enrichment items her carers showered her with and believe it or not, even started doing handstands! This is something our Vietnam team has only ever seen in two other bears in our 25-year history!

However, during her first health check we discovered that Tulip had hypertension, a dark shadow in her gall bladder, and an abnormally curved spine, all results of being confined to a cramped cage for decades.

Our vet team removed Tulip’s gall bladder, a very common procedure that we do with many rescued bears who have suffered years of bile extraction. The surgery, which is normally straightforward, was difficult. Her gall bladder was stuck to her liver in multiple places so the team had to gently and carefully remove each attached section.

The morning after the surgery, Tulip took her pain medication and ate well. However, she refused her evening medication. Later that evening, our vet surgeon Shaun tried to give her meds again, once again she refused. By 3am Tulip was showing signs of pain, so Shaun administered the meds via injection and this seemed to ease her discomfort.

At 7.30am the next morning, Tulip had woken up and was lying on her back playing with banana leaves, seemingly back to normal. However, when Shaun went to check on her at 8am, she had quietly slipped away.

We have no idea what caused her sudden death, and we won’t know until we have the autopsy report. 

Although this is an incredibly sad time, we take comfort in knowing that thanks to your support we were able to give Tulip almost a month of happiness. For the first time in her life she experienced pure joy, she could see the mountains and sky and was surrounded by people who loved her. 

We like to think she knew there were only good times ahead, and that when she passed away she did so peacefully, knowing she was at last, free.

Read more:

Jill's Blog - When our bears die...
How Animals Asia is ending bear bile farming in Vietnam