In the late afternoon of the 18th of May 2020, on the busy streets of Son La, Vietnam, a tiny young bear was being illegally offered for sale. The female cub was only a few months old when she was offered for sale by illegal wildlife traders on the border with Laos.
Although illegal, Asiatic black bears are still smuggled, bought, sold and farmed for their stomach bile in Vietnam.
In this case, a local family found out and intervened to spare the baby bear from a lifetime of captivity on a bear farm or from being killed for human consumption. The FOUR PAWS Viet team was called to action by our local cooperation partner and the Vietnamese authorities, and asked to save this little bear cub – Mochi.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the rescue action had to follow strict safety precautions, but the small FOUR PAWS team made the four-and-a-half-hour drive from BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh in Northern Vietnam to Son La province to rescue the cub.
Little Mochi is alert, playful and intelligent. She is in good physical condition and her health exam did not reveal any significant abnormalities. Weighing two kilograms, she is a little thinner than she should be and is having some minor gastrointestinal issues, however, both conditions will resolve within a few weeks after receiving appropriate milk and supportive care from our expert team,
Szilvia Kalogeropoulu, FOUR PAWS Viet veterinarian.
A long road ahead
Mochi weighed just 2 kg when we found her, and she is at a vulnerable age as her immune system is not fully developed yet, so our team will provide her with all the care she needs to grow into a healthy bear. Sadly it is impossible that Mochi will be able to be released back into the wild, so she will remain at our sanctuary.
Our staff at Ninh Binh have experience in caring for bear cubs after the 2019 rescue of Mi and Tam, who were saved from a wildlife trafficker attempting to smuggle. Today, Mi and Tam are healthy, growing fast, and thriving at our BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh thanks to your support. We are determined to give Mochi the same second chance Mi and Tam had.
Wildlife trade in Vietnam
The legal and illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is a billion-dollar industry which sees animals taken from the wild and bred in captivity to be sold in markets, restaurants, online and used in pseudo-traditional medicines throughout the country.
With its BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, FOUR PAWS is supporting the Vietnamese government to contribute to an end of bile bear farming in Vietnam and provide a species-appropriate home for up to 100 rescued bears once all construction is finished. With the new arrival of Mochi, the sanctuary is currently home to 32 Asiatic black bears.
Mochi and her baby bottle
Let's sweeten up your Monday with an update from Mochi. The bear cub has doubled in size in the last month and now weighs 4 kilograms! Baby bears grow fast! Enjoy watching her drink from her bottle.
Learning to climb and play!
Little Mochi is already 3.8 kg. The little cub loves to eat and she goes crazy when the team feeds her! Now that vegetables are being introduced into her diet, she is even happier about feeding time. She is learning how to climb on a small climbing frame, and also has a small pool to smash around in, for a cub who has been through so much, the team are extremely impressed with her development! Mochi also received her first vaccinations, with 3-4 following soon.
Mochi is gaining weight
Mochi is doing really well, her weight is now 2.8 kg! The team are looking into building a special temporary area outside area, located just in front of the veterinary office so that she can be monitored but get to spend some time outside. At the moment, as she is too small and young to receive any vaccinations, it's not possible for her to go into any of the other enclosures. If all goes to plan, we hope for Mochi to have some fresh air in the coming weeks!
Mochi receives care and nutrition
Mochi arrives at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh for quarantine care.
Mochi is rescued
Mochi is rescued from wildlife traffickers by our local cooperation partner and the Vietnamese authorities, who call on FOUR PAWS to provide urgent care for the little bear cub.