30 years and counting protecting bears
For three decades we have worked, alongside partners and with our supporters, to end the suffering of bears.
Exposing the cruelty of bear baiting and performing bears
In 1992, we launched the ‘Libearty’ campaign, following our investigations across Asia that revealed the true extent of the exploitation and suffering of bears. Setting us on a 30-year path dedicated to ending cruelty to bears.
In the same year, we came up with the concept of the bear sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world, a protected environment where bears could live close to nature and free from cruelty. This meant we now had a way to rescue exploited bears from captivity and safely rehome them.
We then exposed the misery of dancing bears in Greece and Turkey and started campaigning to end their abuse…and that was just year one. For three decades we have worked, alongside partners and our supporters, to end the suffering of bears.
In 1993, we unveiled the illegal blood sport of bear baiting and started an international campaign to move the Pakistan government to end it. With our partners, Bioresource Research Centre (BRC), we tirelessly campaigned to end bear baiting. Starting an alternative livelihoods programme for bear owners and opening the Balkasar sanctuary.
In 2019, we reported no bear-baiting events took place in Pakistan.
Taking on the bear bile industry
That same year, our investigations uncovered the horrors of the bear bile industry in Asia, revealing thousands of bears living in misery and pain for their gallbladder and bile, for use in Traditional Asian Medicine. This started one of our most monumental challenges to date, a campaign we are still running today, to end the suffering of bears in the bear bile industry.
In Vietnam, with long-term partners Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), we have supported the government to phase out keeping bears for their bile. Microchipping and monitoring has reduced the number of bears in Vietnam by over 90%. This month we supported our biggest rescue to date, with nine bears moved to a sanctuary to live out their days closer to nature.
In South Korea, working with Green Korea United (GKU), we have rallied local people to support an end to bear bile farming and lobbied the government to take action for over 20 years. This year South Korea announced an end to bear bile!
In China, our work continues with stakeholders and traditional medicine doctors, practitioners and consumers. We are building support for ending the use of bear bile, with more companies pledging to move towards alternatives, and navigating a way out of the industry.
Changing the world for bears for 30 years
With our partners around the world, we’ve established and supported bear sanctuaries in Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Romania and beyond. We’ve helped to close the bear parks in Japan we first investigated in 1992. Bear dancing no longer happens in Greece, Turkey and India. Bear baiting events are a thing of the past in Pakistan and the bear bile industry has ended in South Korea and is dying out in Vietnam.
There are too many great moments to mention, but still, too many bears worldwide suffer.
Join us for the next 30 years
Together, we are changing the lives of bears. Ending the cruelty and exploitation. Forever. So, they can live wild and free as they should be.