Taken away from their mother, tied up in a sack, ready to be sold to a trader. We can only imagine the stress the two bear cubs Bé and Em must have gone through in their early lives.
On 13 May 2022, the Lai Chau police arrested a man who carried around a suspicious looking sack, in which they found the two cubs. After having caught them, this man was just on his way to sell the poor bears to a trader! The authorities asked FOUR PAWS to rescue the siblings, after confiscating them.
Immediately, a dedicated team from BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh started their eleven-hour-journey to Lai Chau province. After a health check and a long journey back, the two female Asiatic black bears arrived safely at their new home.
Tiny but healthy
Luckily, despite their traumatic start into life and their young age, both cubs are in a good health and have settled in well. Even though they are still adapting to the new surroundings, both bear cubs already show their individual and adventurous personalities. Whereas Em is still a bit shy, Bé already keeps everyone on their toes – playing around and starting little fights with her sister.
Only weighing 3.3 and 2.4 kilograms, they do need intensive care and close monitoring. Thankfully our team is very experienced in hand-raising bear cubs and provides them with all the care they need.
As there are no safe wild places in Vietnam, it is not possible for the cubs to be released into the wild again. At BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, Bé and Em will have a species-appropriate life and can grow into healthy bears.
Update August 2022
Bear cubs Bé and Em are growing fast at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. They are fed 5 times per day from 6.30 am until 10pm with milk, but they also now have carrots, pumpkin, tomato and water spinach in their daily diet.
Bé is extremely exuberant, she is into everything and doesn’t hesitate to investigate new things. Em is a bit more reserved, she takes her time and lets her bigger sister check out new enrichment and food first. They love their little pool and ice blocks on hot days, and they have a particular spot they like to sleep in together under a platform after they are done playing.
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Update November 2022
As they have been progressing and growing fast, recently they have been moved into a bigger enclosure with much more to explore: trees, rocks, caves and dense vegetation. Their new enclosure is next to Mochi, Nikko and Nara, our group of cubs from 2020. They were quite wary at first but are now really happy foraging and playing in the first half of the enclosure.They have found the pool but they aren't brave enough to go for a swim just yet. The two regularly interact with the three bigger cubs through the den doors, with lots of sniffing and nose licking. Nara in particular likes to watch the little cubs and jaw pops at them a lot. Bé is very cheeky and confident; she was seen stealing a banana leaf from Nikko and pulling it through into her den. Currently Em and Bé are too small to join Mochi Nikko and Nara's group, but we hope this will be possible when they are bigger.