Bears at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

Timeline of Our Activities and Achievements

Our mission for bile bears in Vietnam


Although the sale and the possession of bear bile have been banned by law since 2005, today still many bears – mainly Asiatic black bears – are kept on bear farms in Vietnam. Many are illegally abused for the extraction of bear bile.  

In the framework of the #SaddestBears campaign, FOUR PAWS has set itself the task of ending the torment of bile bears in Vietnam.

what four paws has achieved so far:

Bear Soi in his old home

October 2022

Bear Soi was rescued by FOUR PAWS on 27th of October, after his owner agreed to hand him over. After spending his life in a tiny cage, not much bigger than a car, unable to live a species-appropriate life, a new life was waiting for him at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh with many new surprises. Not only will bear Soi experience positive surprises at his new forever home, but also the team was surprised when the vet check revealed that Soi was much younger than 17 years, not like his owner stated.

May 2022

On 30 May 2022, the Vietnam Bear Coalition, comprised of FOUR PAWS, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), and World Animal Protection (WAP) held a press conference in Hanoi. The coalition called upon the Hanoi authorities to take decisive action to end bear bile farming in the nation’s capital. While most of the country has made great progress in ending the cruel practice of bear bile farming, sadly Hanoi is trailing behind. Hanoi remains the biggest bear bile farming hotspot, accounting for 149 bears, or 51% of captive bears in Vietnam! Ioana Dungler, Wild Animal Department Director, spoke on behalf of FOUR PAWS and expressed our hope that also the bile bears of Hanoi will have the opportunity to live in a species-appropriate environment like in our BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.

Bear cubs Bé and Em at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

May 2022

Bear cubs Bé and Em were victims of the illegal wildlife trade and were taken from their mother. Found tied up in a sack, FOUR PAWS was asked to help them.

Bear Vui

February 2022

Nine bile bears were rescued from three different farms in Binh Duong province. It was the biggest rescue of bile bears so far.

Bear Tu Do before her rescue

December 2021

Bear Tu Do, whose name means freedom in Vietnamese, was the last bile bear in Son La province, is the 40th resident of our sanctuary, and the 50th bear rescued by FOUR PAWS in Vietnam.

Bear Mo at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh in Vietnam

October 2021

With your help, we reached 100k signatures on our Hanoi petition already. For years we’ve been trying to change the horrible situation of bears farmed in Vietnam – and now we focus on Hanoi. Continue to support our joint effort with our partners in the Bear Coalition in Vietnam, Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV) and World Animal Protection (WAP), to make a species-appropriate life for the bears such as Mo on this picture possible.

June 2021

FOUR PAWS changes the focus of the international campaign #SaveTheSaddestBears to end bear farming in Vietnam and launches a new petition aimed at hotspot Hanoi. Since FOUR PAWS started the campaign in 2017 over 1.2 million people signed the petition and 49 bears were rescued and brought to BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. But while significant progress was made across the country, Hanoi remains the country’s #1 bear bile farming hotspot, with 161 bears on 31 farms accounting for 46% of the total bile bears in Vietnam! Hanoi is the country’s capital, and therefore should be setting an example for other provinces to follow, and not create an embarrassment for Vietnam on the global stage.

Bear Cam is his tiny cage

April 2021

Rescue bear Cam from a tiny 1.5 square meter cage in a bile bear farm in Hai Phong province, Vietnam.

Bears Xuan and Mo in a basement

March 2021

Rescue Xuan and Mo: The bile bears kept in a basement: Xuan and Mo were rescued from a life in darkness.


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November 2020

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! 

Asiatic black bear Thu at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

October 2020

Rescue Thu: With 15 years of suffering behind her, the Asiatic black bear begins her new life. 

FOUR PAWS rescues two bear cubs from illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam

July 2020

FOUR PAWS rescues two bear cubs from illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. Read our press release here!

July 2020

Breaking News: Vietnam’s Prime Minister issues directive to ban all wildlife trade in reaction to COVID-19! Vietnam has banned the import of wild animals and their parts and banned the sale of wild animals and their parts within the country. As one of the biggest consumers of wild animals this is a major step in not only stopping the next pandemic but also protecting wild animals from being poached from the wild or cruelly bred on farms to meet demands for human consumption.
Moreover, in an unprecedented step, Vietnam
 has vowed to act against the online sale of wild animals which is an increasing trend in the region.
FOUR PAWS hope that this decision is followed by effective enforcement and we will see Vietnam leading the fight against illegal wildlife trade and protecting wild animals from poaching and cruel captive breeding. We hope this example will provide the impetus for other countries to also act and protect wild animals and stop the next pandemic


Bear cub Mochi

May 2020

FOUR PAWS rescues bear cub from illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. Cub Mochi finds a species-appropriate home at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. Read her story here!

Rescue Cuc and Nhai

May 2020

Bear rescue amidst COVID-19 pandemic. FOUR PAWS provides species-appropriate home for two bears in Vietnam. Read more!

Bear Freddie

December 2019

Rescue Freddie: The story of a bear, confiscated from the backseat of a taxi

Bear Ben

December 2019

Rescue Ben: He suffered almost three decades in a tiny, filthy cage. After a 200km journey across Vietnam, bear Ben can begin his new life at our BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.

Biggest FOUR PAWS mission in Vietnam

September 2019

Biggest FOUR PAWS mission in Vietnam: Seven bile bears rescued from cruel captivity

Bear Lili, Lulu and Lac

May 2019

Unexpected bile bear rescue in Vietnam - 3 nameless Asiatic black bears. Now they got the names: Lili, Lulu and Lac.

Rescue Chuoi, Tao and Le

May 2019

Rescue of 3 Asiatic black bears from Binh Duong province. Chuoi, Tao and Le were brought to BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. 

March 2019

In the biggest FOUR PAWS rescue operation to date, we save the five bile bears Keo, Lim, San, Dieu and Khoai Lang.

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March 2019


January 2019

Bear cubs Mi and Tam are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and taken into our care. 

Bear Long

November 2018

FOUR PAWS reaches two more emergency cases in Vietnam: we are able to rescue Asiatic black bears Trang und Long.

August 2018

FOUR PAWS saves another pair of abused bears, locked up for over 12 years: Hoa Lan and Hoa Tra.

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April 2018

FOUR PAWS rescues May and Binh Yen from captivity in cruel conditions. There are now no more bear farms in Ninh Binh Province.

January 2018

FOUR PAWS rescues former bile bear Misa.


November 2017

FOUR PAWS rescues the first bile bears in Vietnam. Nhi Nho, Thai Van and Thai Giang move to Ninh Bin and become the BEAR SANCTUARY's first residents.

November 2017

According to official figures, around 800 bears still live on an estimated 250 farms in Vietnam.

#SaddestBears in Vietnam

Spring 2017 

FOUR PAWS launches the international campaign 
#SaveTheSaddestBears: END BEAR FARMING in Vietnam!

Construction work starts on BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

December 2016

Construction work starts on BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.


Spring 2015

FOUR PAWS begins cooperation with the state wildlife rescue centre, the 'Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre', and funds an outdoor enclosure in order to improve the living conditions of the former bile bears kept there. 


FOUR PAWS investigates Vietnamese bile bear farms for the first time.



The Vietnamese government bans the sale and possession of bear bile and the new admission of bears to farms. All bears kept on farms are registered and microchipped. At this point, around 4,300 bears live on Vietnamese bear bile farms.


The saddest bears in Vietnam need your support. Your donation will help to stop the torture of these animals!


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