The China Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu was Animals Asia’s first bear sanctuary and also the first of its kind in the world. An adventurous project, it is a safe haven combining secure, semi-natural rehabilitation areas with bamboo forest enclosures designed to provide the bears with a secure and stimulating environment for the remaining years of their lives and to act as a centre for research and education.

Since 2000, when the Chinese government gave us access to an abandoned wildlife sanctuary and the first 63 rescued bears arrived, the centre has seen continual developments and improvements. Today there are 11 bear houses and 15 natural and semi-natural enclosures – including two special-care enclosures for old or mobility-challenged bears, and two special enclosures for brown bears. These can currently house around 250 bears, depending on their needs (extra space is required for special-needs bears). Many of the enrichment furnishings and toys that the bears enjoy in their enclosures have been made from local materials and built onsite by our own bear horticulture team.

Peter Egan at Animals Asia's bear rescue centre in Chengdu, China.

The sanctuary also has a fully-equipped veterinary hospital, a sheltered quarantine area, an administrative block, a public education centre, staff accommodation, staff canteen and a bear kitchen. It also incorporates a herb garden for growing natural alternatives to bear bile and a bear cemetary for those friends we have lost. Specially created viewing areas around three bear houses enable staff and visitors to observe the bears close-up in their enclosures.

Although the rescue centre is not officially open to the public, the team hosts about 3,800 visitors each year, including international and Chinese media crews and photographers.

Most visitors take part in the fortnightly open-day tours – offered for up to four groups of 20 people – during which visitors enjoy a close-up view of the bears and learn about the cruelties of bile farming.

The centre also works closely with schools and educational institutions – arranging summer camps for university students from around China and welcoming a constant stream of primary students from the surrounding areas.

To help us build awareness of the realities of the bear bile industry among our visitors and the general public, the Chengdu sanctuary is equipped with a public education classroom housing photo displays and a display of actual cages and equipment from bile farms. These facilities play a pivotal role in our campaign. Soon they will be expanded to include a new education centre and large viewing areas where visitors and researchers can watch the bears in their enclosures.

The team are also actively engaged in various types of off-site educational work – holding workshops in schools and universities; working with veterinary students and the staff of zoos and animal parks; and giving presentations to students and practitioners of traditional medicine to share our research on bile and the cruelty involved in bear bile farming and to encourage medical students and practitioners to pledge not to prescribe bear bile.

The educational programmes developed by our staff have not only helped the rescue centre achieve its reputation as a regional centre for ethical and environmental education but also helps to advance the concept of animal welfare in China in a huge way.

Go inside our Chengdu Bear Rescue Centre like never before and take a 360 degree virtual tour of our facility.

On this eight-minute video, we will take you inside our bear enclosures, closer than if you were physically here. You’ll also be able to look around our grounds, see the team in action, and get up close and personal with our beautiful boy, Kevin, as he has his health check.

You can start your virtual tour at any time at the link below using one of the specified browsers. Use the arrow symbol on the video to move up, down, to the left and to the right. Enjoy!


Please note, this film is best viewed using one of the following browsers:

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Or if viewing on a mobile:

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If you have any issues viewing the clip, don’t hesitate to contact us on [email protected]
Heartfelt thanks to supporters David Finnegan from Sense 6 and Brian Daly from The Proverbials for donating the filming and editing of this clip.

More Information

Bear Profiles

Meet some of the most iconic bears that Animals Asia has cared for at its award-winning sanctuaries in China and Vietnam