Bear Chinh in his cage on the bile farm

May 2024

Ninh Binh

Rescue Bear Chinh

Abused for his bile over and over again, poor Chinh's suffering has finally come to an end


Chinh was kept on a bile bear farm in Vietnam. He had to endure a life as a 'bile bear' for almost two decades. He has been kept on the farm since at least 2005. It is assumed that he was brought to the farm as a cub. Chinh was kept in a tiny metal cage, scarcely larger than the bear itself. Devoid of any stimuli, he was lacking even basic necessities like water.

Since 2019, FOUR PAWS had already rescued 14 bears from the farm Chinh was also rescued from. In September 2019 we rescued bears James, Thom, Mui, Hung, Ot, and Thia La. In November 2020 we rescued bears Khe, Dua, Oi and Xoai and in February 2022 we rescued bears Teo, Tai, Tin and Khoi. Poor Chinh was the last remaining bear on the farm. We could not rescue him sooner, as every rescue of a legally kept (microchipped) bear in Vietnam requires the consent of the bear owner. Although the bears we rescued from that farm were formerly kept in the same location, they belonged to different farmers. The farmer who owns Chinh had only recently approached the authorities, finally ready to give the bear up.

Our biggest bile bear rescue to date

Abused for their bile

When FOUR PAWS Vietnam visited the farm in July 2019 for the very first time they recorded horrific keeping conditions. When they entered the farm, they encountered rows of apathetic and imprisoned bears reminding them of a production line that shamelessly exploits for profit. Some bears were just laying lethargically, while others were swaying intensively trying to cope with their miserable conditions.

Chinh had rubbed off fur on his forehead and head and was excessively head swaying. The bears who are rescued from this farm and others, typically arrive with a multitude of health issues. The most common pathological conditions associated with bile farming are gallbladder and liver inflammation, cancer, heart and dental disease, chronic kidney disease, degenerative joint disease and eye problems. Additionally, the rescued bears present abnormal body conditions ranging from emaciation to obesity, often missing paws or limbs and have injuries due to snare wounds (poaching), declawing attempts or paw amputation for sale. All these diseases are a result of years of inappropriate husbandry and diet, stress and gallbladder and liver inflammation caused by repeated unsanitary bile extraction.

Home at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

After a two-day journey, bear Chinh arrived safely at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. An experienced wildlife veterinarian from the sanctuary accompanied the whole transfer and took care of his wellbeing. Chinh will first complete a 30-day quarantine, which is essential to protect the other resident bears from potential disease transfer. At his new home, the experienced team is closely monitoring his health and providing him with intensive veterinary care, an appropriate diet and diverse enrichments to settle in at the sanctuary.

Years of living in a cage have left deep marks on Chinhs body. He developed severe cornification on his footpads from standing on metal bars, hair loss on his head and fractured upper canines. From observation, it can be assumed that he has typical diseases related to bile farming, which will be examined during a full health check under anaesthesia, including a blood test, X-ray and more at the sanctuaries own veterinary clinic.

We hope that after the quarantine has been finished and no further complications arise, Chinh will be able to enjoy life at his new forever-home BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. With access to both an indoor and an outdoor enclosure, Chinh could finally be able to behave like a bear again. He could swim in the wading pools, climb on the high platforms, soak up the sun, play with other bears, forage for food or hide away in dens when he wants to relax. For the first time in two decades, he could experience what life as a bear should feel like. Stay tuned for future updates on this page and our FOUR PAWS social media channels!

Bile bear behind metal bars

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