Without ventilation, light or fresh air, nothing but the rusty bars of tiny barren cages. Two bile bears, kept in a windowless, wet basement since they were cubs. Bears Xuan and Mo have suffered unimaginably.
The only time the bears saw the light was when their owner came to feed them or worse: puncture their gallbladder with a needle, a painful procedure to extract their bile. This bile was used for medicinal purposes by the family of the owner. For years these bears have known nothing but pain and abuse.
During the pre-visit to the farm on site, the team were shocked by the horrific living conditions and what the bears had to go through, there was no question that the bears had to rescued and brought to our BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.
Following the much planning and preparation needed, our team travelled over 10 hours to arrive in the Son La Province at the residence where the bears were being kept. Arriving at the farm in the early hours of the morning, the two bears were quite calm and unafraid when they met the FOUR PAWS staff. We are all relieved that the rescue mission went well and smoothly. An initial vet check was done onsite, revealing that the bears both had signs of gallbladder disease due to multiple unsanitary and traumatic bile extraction processes carried out on the farm. In addition, Xuan is overweight, has liver disease and his teeth are in terrible condition. Three of his fractured canine teeth will need to be removed in the coming months.
The long journey to BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh was calm, and the bears happily snacked on bananas and apples. From their experience of life in a tiny rusty cage, this trip much have felt like first-class to them! Now, the bear's hell is over, they can start over and live the species-appropriate life they deserve. We hope the two bears will be able to overcome their hurtful past and fully adapt to their new surroundings soon. We can’t wait to watch them enjoy the upcoming years in our sanctuary!
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Update 03rd May 2021: Emergency vet check for bear Xuan
Xuan, like most formerly bile bears, suffers from multiple diseases and due to his extremely difficult past, he is struggling with severe behavioural abnormalities. The animal caretakers have been intensively working with him for the past weeks as it is very difficult to get him to take his medication. Last week, the onsite team noticed that Xuan had significantly deteriorated! It was decided to immediately examine him under anaesthesia.
His already diagnosed ailments had worsened and he additionally developed pancreatitis and gastritis. Sadly, all these conditions are extremely painful. His treatment plan is focused on controlling pain, inflammation and infection, but also when and if needed with the help of behavioural medications we will try to make him less stressed and scared.
He spent the next few days in the allocated area for hospitalised patients in our veterinary clinic at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, for close monitoring and further treatment.
Unfortunately, Xuan is one of many rescued animals that had to endure years of trauma, leaving not only physical but also psychological scars. When these animals are rescued and brought to a safe and suitable place, they might not immediately understand or recognise that their horrible past is behind them. A successful rescue itself often signals the start of our work, not the finish!
The way to recovery for Xuan will be long, but we will be next to him 24/7. Hopefully, with all the efforts and energy invested by the dedicated team, he will start to improve over time.