7 bile bears rescued

Nov 2020

Ninh Binh

Rescue of 7 Bile Bears

Asiatic black bears La, Lam, Sang, Dua, Khe, Oi and Xoai begin their new lives at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh 


For the seven Asiatic black bears, who only knew life behind metal bars on two farms for almost 20 years – their new lives have just begun after our biggest bear rescue in 2020! The bears had no names, they were just known as numbers and have been farmed for their bile in the Binh Duong province all of their lives. These bears have endured a lifetime of misery and suffering. Years without any mental stimuli and species-appropriate diet or even access to water. It is almost unbearable to imagine what these bears have endured for so long.  

When FOUR PAWS found out about the bears, it was certain that they must be rescued! Negotiations and preparation began in order to bring them to a species-appropriate life at our BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh! However, very unfortunately such a rescue took lengthy planning, and when a typhoon hit Vietnam just days before their planned rescue, the bears had to wait even longer. 

But as the typhoon cleared, the team set out on the rescue mission to rescue these bears and save them from their misery once and for all. Under our care, these bears were no longer just numbers and the seven bears would get new names to start their new lives, these names are La, Lam, Sang, Dua, Khe, Oi and Xoai.  

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As the team arrived onsite, everything went extremely smoothly as all seven bears calmly walked into transport crates, of course, with some tasty honey to help the process. In their crates the bears remained calm as they received a meal, lots of straw, banana leaves and fresh water. Something they probably never experienced before.

On the 1,600 km journey across Vietnam to our sanctuary, which took 2 days, and almost 40-hours of driving, the bears received regular water and meals. Although the bears arrived at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, they are still far from reaching their destination, as only now their recovery process can start.

While the bears are finally safe, they are not healthy. During the rescue, our veterinarian already observed worrying symptoms that could indicate several health issues. This is not unusual, as bears that were abused for years in tiny cages on farms for their bile always have a variety of health problems. Dental disease is common, along with mobility issues and gallbladder and liver infections from the unsanitary bile extraction process.

But for now, the seven bears are now settling in at our sanctuary, they are in a comfortable environment until they will soon receive full medical vet checks and their healing can truly begin. We will update you on their progress soon!

Update January 2021

Since their arrival at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, they have been in constant observation from the onsite team. All of them need to be treated for particular health issues, and their journey to full recovery is a long one. However from some of them, already we have some good news! Dua and Oi are socialised, whilst Sang and Khe have adapted quickly in their new environment, better than any other former bile bear at the sanctuary and are enjoying their beautiful outdoor enclosures. The other bears are still in the bear house but we hope they will soon be able to explore outside. We will keep you updated on their progress.

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Update June 2021: Farewell Xoai

We had to sadly let go of bear Xoai. After she arrived at our sanctuary in November 2020, during the very first health check it was obvious that she had suffered a lot in the past while living on a bear farm in Binh Duong. She had multiple chronic diseases including kidney, gallbladder, liver, heart and degenerative joint disease.

Xoai was being medically treated since her arrival at the sanctuary, however in the last weeks it was noticed that her mobility was deteriorating. Additional health checks were done and further enclosure modifications to help her move around more, however they didn’t improve her situation and she continued to become weaker on her hind legs. The difficult decision had to be made in order to prevent her from further suffering, and after only seven months with us, sadly we had to let her go.

Xoai was known by her caretakers as a very sweet and gentle bear. Enjoying long naps in the grass or on a pile of hessian bags. She always took all her medication no matter how bad tasting they were. She loved honey treats and sunflower seeds the most.

We are grateful to have had the chance to bring some peacefulness and happy moments during the last few months of her life with us.

Rest in peace beautiful gentle bear.

Bear Xoai enjoying the outdoors
Bile bear

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