Vietnam: Lives of two rescued bear cubs are saved

Mi and Tam delight animal keepers in FOUR PAWS’ BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh 


Ninh Binh (Vietnam), 16 May 2019 - Two bear cubs rescued from wildlife traffickers have made a remarkable recovery in the care of international animal protection organisation FOUR PAWS, and have taken their first steps outdoors.

Mi and Tam had a very bad start to their young lives. At the age of only a few weeks, cubs Mi and Tam, were snatched from their mother and fell into the hands of unscrupulous wildlife smugglers. The illegal trade with the two bear babies was stopped at the last minute thanks to the cooperation of the Vietnamese police and local authorities, Education for Nature-Vietnam, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, and FOUR PAWS.

Extremely dehydrated and in a totally weakened state, weighing only 900 grams each, Mi and Tam were confiscated by the authorities in Hai Phong province at the beginning of January 2019 and handed over to FOUR PAWS and its bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh province, Vietnam. 

Although a FOUR PAWS team immediately provided the two bear babies with round-the-clock medical care and milk substitutes, the situation was very bad for them for a long time. All the more reason to be happy that the two cubs, each weighing a proud 19 kilograms, are now out of the woods.

"We are overwhelmed that our two protégés have made it. It’s a small wonder to us that in five months, the two bears evolved from being alarmingly underweight to now two fun-loving, strong animals that are hungry for life and are playful and happy. Seeing the two cheerfully romping around in their enclosure is the best reward for all our efforts."

Emily Lloyd, Animal Manager at FOUR PAWS Vietnam. 

Space for 100 abused bears in BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS officially opened its BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh on the 7th of March 2019. Located in Ninh Binh Province of Vietnam, the new sanctuary already provides a species-appropriate home for seventeen bears, including fifteen former bile bears. In the past, they have regularly been illegally drained of bile, which is considered a remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. There are still an estimated 800 bile bears suffering on around 250 bear farms. FOUR PAWS therefore calls on the Vietnamese government to press ahead with the closure of bear farms and to place the animals in sanctuaries.

The BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh will have space for 100 abused bears once all construction work has been completed. Not only will it provide a species-appropriate home for former bile bears and victims of wildlife smuggling, it will also serve as an educational centre for animal and species conservation in Vietnam. Built to the latest standards, the centre currently has its own veterinary clinic, two bear houses, a quarantine station and four outdoor enclosures.

On 17 May 2019, a FOUR PAWS team will rescue 3 bile bears from a farm in Binh Duong Province and bring them to the BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.  The animal welfare organisation plans to release more suffering animals from their tiny cages in the coming months. Journalists have the opportunity to accompany rescues.

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FOUR PAWS Press contact

Elise Burgess

Elise Burgess

Head of Communications

T: 02 9198 4417

+43-664 128 17 07

FOUR PAWS Australia
GPO Box 2845 SYDNEY 
NSW 2001

Main Phone: 1800 454 228

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.

Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. 

With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.