140-kilo bear found stuffed inside taxi in Vietnam

FOUR PAWS provides emergency care and new home for distressed bear


13 December 2019 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has taken a severely abused Asiatic black bear in Vietnam into its care and transferred him to its BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh on 12 December 2019. Vietnamese authorities confiscated the male bear on 10 December 2019 during a road control in Ha Tinh province. The bear, who was sedated at the time of the confiscation, had been squeezed into a cage barely big enough to hold him in the back seat of a taxi. A first examination by the FOUR PAWS veterinarian showed he is in a critical condition. The experienced team at the bear sanctuary will now provide him with all the intensive care he needs. Sadly this case once again highlights the ongoing issues with illegal bear keeping and bear farming in Vietnam.

After the confiscation, the FOUR PAWS team immediately made the 260 km journey from BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh to Ha Tinh province to pick up the nameless bear. Fortunately, the authorities managed to move the severely distressed animal into a slightly bigger, secure cage. The bear spent one night at a police station before the FOUR PAWS team arrived and examined him on the spot to ensure he was fit to travel. He arrived safely at his new, species-appropriate home at the bear sanctuary and is already exploring his new surroundings.

 "The bear seems to be a young adult. He is in a critical condition. We have no information on how long he was kept in that terribly small cage, unable to breathe properly, severely dehydrated and under sedatives unknown to us. This could have seriously impaired his health. In the coming days we will provide supportive care at the bear sanctuary in accordance with lab results, ultrasound findings and additional observations. His body was under a lot of stress, but he is slowly acclimating,” 

says FOUR PAWS veterinarian Szilvia Kalogeropoulu.

The experienced team at the bear sanctuary will now do everything they can to help the bear recover from the ordeal he has been through. He will remain in quarantine for the first three weeks to closely monitor his health and help him adjust to his new home before will be moved to a bigger enclosure.

The taxi driver was arrested on-site by Vietnamese police for suspected trafficking. The missing transport documents, as well as no microchip on the bear, indicate a strong possibility that the authorities confiscated the bear before he was sold illegally. Police are currently continuing their investigations. FOUR PAWS has been working tirelessly for years to free as many bears as possible from their sad fate on bear farms, single keeping and in illegal wildlife trade. Further action is needed to ensure bear farming finally ends in Vietnam. In early 2020, the organisation plans to hand over a petition signed by 1.2 million people worldwide to the Vietnamese government, asking them to close all bear farms and ensure the transfer of all remaining bears to rescue centers and sanctuaries.

BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh: A species-appropriate home for rescued bears

With its bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh, FOUR PAWS is making an important contribution to end bile bear farming in Vietnam. Demand for bear bile for healing purposes is reportedly declining, however, up to 450 bears in Vietnam are still living in cruel conditions on bear farms or in single keeping. By the end of 2020, the sanctuary will have room for up to 70 bears. Currently, BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh is home to 29 rescued bears.

Hannah Baker

Head of Communications UK 


020 7922 7954 / 07966 032 235

7 - 14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR


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