Update: Bear Rescues

Update: Bear Rescues

Last year during an exhibition we met some of the team from Animals Asia. We knew at once that we wanted to support their work.

Founded by Jill Robinson in 1998, Animals Asia is devoted to ending bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals across Asia. They promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change. They operate award-winning sanctuaries in both China and Vietnam – they are the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China.

To find out more about bear bile farming and our partnership with Animals Asia please visit our project page.

We pledged to fund bear rescues (including food, medicine, expert staff and transport) in order to bring the Vietnam sanctuary to its full bear capacity of 200 bears by the end of 2021.

At the start of the year the Animals Asia Vietnam sanctuary had 17 places remaining and we are delighted to say that despite the challenges of the global pandemic, the team has successfully rescued 5 bears already this year.

Although the rescued bears can never be released back into their wild home, they can live out a healthy and happier life at the sanctuary.

Each of the bears has different needs and the process of rehabilitation can be long and slow   – the bears have lived in cramped cages, with poor diets, little to no socialisation or stimulation for many years and this takes its toll on their health and wellbeing.

To get to know the bears and the expert team looking after them we hope you will watch this short film. It is both heart-breaking (to think what the bears have suffered) and heart-warming (to see the loving care they are now receiving and how they are responding).

The Three Bears have moved to their new dens!

The hard work of our amazing bear care team has paid off and Alice, Bân and James have moved into their new homes. Watch the video to see how they're settling in and find out how our other recent rescues Florence and Clara are getting on after their health check last week.

Posted by Animals Asia on Thursday, 18 June 2020


Ban, James and Alice were rescued from the Nam dinh Province on 21 April and after completing their quarantine in early June, they have now moved into the cub house and dens. They will be monitored closely in their dens and once they are happy and settled in den life the team will look to add in enclosure access. This can be a stressful transition for bears that have been through trauma, so the team want to ensure that their dens are seen as a place of comfort to come back to if the enclosure feels too overwhelming.

The Animals Asia team report that the three bears are currently at the fourth stage of their enrichment calendar and  are doing well. This means that food is stuffed into bamboo feeders and log treats for them to discover.

James and Alice are very confident. Ban may need a little more time. Because it is very hot at the moment, the bears are given frozen food trays –  they all seem to love these.

Images: Animals Asia. James, Ban & Alice on the day of their rescue in April 2020


Florence and Clara were rescued on 12 May, having lived on a farm in Vin Yen for at least 15 years.


Both have now had full health checks and are part way through their quarantine. Both bears are unfortunately suffering with a number of issues most likely caused by their years in captivity. These include:

  • Arthiritis (Clara in her knees and one of her elbows, and Florence in her spine which is curved). Pain relief is administered as needed;
  • Poor teeth – this has resulted in Clara being picky with her food.  Both bears have been given a thorough teeth clean and dental check – Clara also had a molar removed. This should help them to feel more comfortable;
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – the team is seeking advice from veterinary specialists with regards to how best treat their hypertension – most likely a result of stress caused by years in captivity;
  • Itchy skin. Florence was quite bald and missing lots of fur, evidence of where she’s been scratching and itching. The team have been able to give her medication to help.

Both the girls are enjoying taking showers to cool down during the hot spell!

Images: Animals Asia. Florence and Clara on the day of their rescue in May 2020.

We look forward to bringing you further updates about James, Alice, Ban, Florence & Clara, and hope that the team can liberate more bears from bear bile farms in the coming months.

In order to fund these 17 bear rescues for Animals Asia we have a fund-raising target of £11,400 GBP. We’d love your support in helping to raise these funds – there are lots of way to support, from making a donation or buying a Tshirt to coming along to an event, or using Amazon Smile when you shop online at Amazon – to see some of the ways you can help please visit the Support Us page.