One of two bears, now named Bonnie and Clyde, were transferred to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre,

Successful Rescue, Two Bears Find a New Home in Vietnam Sanctuary

Press release

A joint effort by World Animal Protection and Vietnam’s Forest Protection Department (FPD), successfully helped rescue two bears from Binh Duong province of Vietnam.

The two bears, now named Bonnie and Clyde, were transferred to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, run by the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF).

The successful bear rescue mission is a result of diligent efforts carried out under a World Animal Protection and FPD programme that involves monitoring bear farms for illegally held bears, while also persuading bear owners to voluntarily surrender these majestic animals to sanctuaries. In this case, it was a voluntary transfer. The bear owners had kept the bears captive for 25 years but expressed their desire for the bears to lead a better life, as they could not provide adequate care for them.

A dedicated team of wildlife experts and local authorities collaborated to rescue the bears that have been held in cruel captivity, confined in cramped rusty cages for 25 years with lack of sunlight, fresh air and unable to roam freely in a natural environment. 

On arrival at the farm, the inspection team found the two bears to be in a poor state, appearing sluggish and depressed. Bonnie’s right hind foot had been amputated, due to it being trapped when she was a cub. 

Bonnie and Clyde will enjoy a better life at AAF’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, a specialised wildlife sanctuary renowned for its commitment to animal welfare. There they will be able to roam and play in a semi-wild environment, designed with enrichments to stimulate the bears’ natural behaviours.

Thanks to such collaborative efforts, there are now more bears in sanctuaries run by NGOs and government rescue centres than on farms (226 bears are on farms and 336 bears in rescue centres and sanctuaries, as of July 2023) in Vietnam.

Maya Pastakia, International Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection said: 

“In 2005, the Vietnamese government made bear bile farming illegal, but a loophole has allowed bear owners to keep their bears on their farms as “pets”, meaning that hundreds of bears are still suffering a tortuous life in captivity in Vietnam. 

“These two beautiful bears, Bonnie and Clyde, were kept in cruel conditions for 25 years, unable to feel the sunlight on their skin and breath fresh air, or roam around and express their natural behaviours as they ordinarily would in the wild.  The Vietnamese government must close all remaining legal loopholes to end the suffering of bile bears for good, ensuring that this is the last generation of bears to suffer in captivity. Wild animals have a right to a wild life.”

Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam Director at Animals Asia Foundation said:

"Bonnie and Clyde bring the total number of bears Animals Asia has rescued in Vietnam to 264, with 48 of those from Binh Duong Province alone. 

“From our initial health check at the rescue, we found they both have multiple health issues that will need years of ongoing medical attention from our specialist bear and vet team. But now, after a four-day journey, they are safely back at Animals Asia's award-winning sanctuary in Tam Dao, and we look forward to nursing them back to health and seeing them live the life of freedom and kindness they so desperately deserve."

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