VIETNAM - May 20, 2020 –Two Asiatic Black Bears were successfully rescued from a farm when over could no longer care for them. Following strict safety precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization was able to transfer two black bears to its BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh in Northern Vietnam.
Jasmine and Daisy [translated from Vietnamese names, Cuc and Nhai] are approximately 18 years old and were kept in a private backyard their whole life. In Vietnam, bears in captivity are still illegally abused for their bile, which is used as a remedy in traditional medicine. Demand for bear bile for healing purposes is reportedly declining yet, up to 400 bears are still living in cruel conditions on bear farms or under private ownership in Vietnam.
Coronavirus-related lockdowns and border closures have hindered FOUR PAWS’ rescue efforts all over the globe. However, a local FOUR PAWS team made the 40-mile journey from the bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh to nearby Ha Nam province, where the bears were kept in separate cages in a private backyard. Their former owner got the Asiatic black bears as cubs in 2002. FOUR PAWS was asked by the authorities to take over the bears after their owner gave them up voluntarily.
“The health checks went smoothly, Cuc and Nhai coped really well with the transport. Since arriving at the sanctuary, they enjoyed lots of cool showers which they really liked, as it’s so hot right now. They are now settling into the three-week quarantine where we will help them recover through our comprehensive veterinary treatment, provide a species-appropriate diet as well as an extensive enrichment program.”
-Szilvia Kalogeropoulu, FOUR PAWS vet Author
The experienced team at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh will now provide Cuc and Nhai with all the care they need in order to adjust to the species-appropriate surroundings and regain their natural instincts.
The sanctuary was recently reopened for small groups of visitors and guided tours. Temperature checks and wearing masks are compulsory before entering.
“The bears are oblivious, as they should be, for them nothing has changed. Newly rescued bears are always placed in a three-week-quarantine to make sure they don’t transmit any diseases to the other bears. Everyone was wearing face masks, in addition to gloves which we always wear on rescues, and all people on-site tried to keep their distance from each other as much as they could. We follow similar regulations in our daily work at the sanctuary. Our vehicles were disinfected upon leaving the farm, and again back at the sanctuary.”
-Emily Lloyd, Animal Manager at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, on the sanctuary's adjustment to the pandemic.
FOUR PAWS is working with local partners to free as many bears as possible. With BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, FOUR PAWS is helping the Vietnamese government to close bear farms and end the cruel practice of bile extraction once and for all. Currently the sanctuary is undergoing building work to expand and once this is all completed, up to 100 rescued bears will be able to find a new home on ten hectares of land. Visitors can see how the 29 bears that have been rescued so far are living species-appropriate lives in spacious open-air enclosures with ponds, trees, climbing and hiding places. BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh is not only a safe home for former bile bears, it is also an awareness and education centre for wildlife conservation in Vietnam.