In the largest operation of its kind, Animals Asia just moved 101 moon bears from a former bear bile extraction and breeding facility in Nanning, to their bear rescue centre in Chengdu almost 800 miles away.
101 moon bears rescued in unprecedented logistics operation in China
In May of this year, animal rights activists Animals Asia carried out an incredible rescue mission in China, removing 101 moon bears from a former bile extraction facility and transporting them 1,250 km (775 miles) to a rehabilitation centre. It took years of planning, involved three convoys of nine trucks each, and a dedicated team of vets and carers who will continue to rehabilitate the bears as they settle into their new home. This unprecedented and momentous event was eight years in the making and has been the most challenging, unpredictable and emotional journey Animals Asia say they have been on as an organisation. — spotted on FutureCrunch
The epic Journey home for 101 Moon Bears
The bears’ story began in 2013, when the new owner of a bile farm in Nanning decided not to be a part of the industry and reached out to Animals Asia.
When the organisation was handed over 132 bears initially, they needed intensive medical care after undergoing invasive surgery and years of bile extraction.
Even though the initial agreement was for Animals Asia to take over the health and vet care of the bears that were kept at the facility and convert the farm into a second bear sanctuary in China, a series of unfortunate events forced the organisation to bring the bears back to the existing bear rescue centre in Chengdu.
It took eight years to overcome all the legislative and proprietorship issues, and combined with, COVID-19, didn’t make a homecoming possible for the bears. The bear and vet team at Animals Asia never lost hope, however.
When all the conditions were met and challenges overcome, the logistically complex mission took place in three phases from 19 April- 27 May, with nine trucks per phase carrying the 101 bears the 1 250 km from the ex-bile farm in Nanning, Guangxi province to the Chengdu Bear Rescue Centre in Sichuan province.
Each phase took around three days, with each bear individually transferred into a transport cage prior to loading onto the trucks, constantly monitored, watered, fed and cared for by Animals Asia’s specialist team of vets and bear carers along the way. The bears were continuously monitored by CCTV cameras to ensure they remained safe and healthy along the way.
After arriving at the sanctuary, they spent their first 30 days in quarantine before slowly being integrated with the rest of the population. For most of these bears, it was the first time they experienced being outside, feeling the sun, stepping on the grass. Continued below…
Carers kept the bears calm, fed, stimulated and comfy on their trip
Animals Asia China’s Bear & Vet Team Director, Ryan Marcel Sucaet, said, “We’re so proud of how these bears have handled the journey. Most of them have spent their entire lives in confinement on the bear farm. To be suddenly transported halfway across China to their new home could have been very distressing for them, but our team did such an incredible job of keeping them calm, well-fed, stimulated and comfortable along the way.
“The successful completion of this operation shows that large scale relocation of vulnerable species is entirely possible and feasible. The operational know-how could be applied to future large-scale relocations of other species and adopted by other animal welfare organisations as well.”
Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson, says, “It’s an amazing feeling. We’ve rescued over 600 bears across China and Vietnam in the last two decades, but we have never attempted anything on this scale.”
Animals Asia acknowledges Increased Focus on Wildlife Protection in China
Animals Asia believes that a real and long-term change can only be achieved by working together constructively with all stakeholders, including the authorities and the local communities.
As a result of years of collaborative work with the authorities towards improving animal welfare, running educational and internship programmes for local vets in China, the organisation garnered vital support from the local community that made this operation possible.
These 101 bears couldn’t be moved to their final homes if the new owner of the ex-bear farm in Nanning didn’t decide to stop the bile farming and call Animals Asia, or without the local authorities’ assistance and approval of the necessary transport permits for this momentous operation.
This demonstrates the positive change towards animal welfare and wildlife protection in the region, as China makes significant legislative amendments to combat the illegal wildlife trade and protect threatened species.
Scroll down to hear a few words from Animal Asia supporter and bear sponsor Ricky Gervais.
CHENGDU BEAR SANCTUARY — LEARN MORE — SPONSOR A BEAR!
The China Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu was Animals Asia’s first bear sanctuary and also the first of its kind in the world. An adventurous project, it is a safe haven combining secure, semi-natural rehabilitation areas with bamboo forest enclosures designed to provide the bears with a secure and stimulating environment for the remaining years of their lives and to act as a centre for research and education. Click to learn more and maybe even sponsor a bear. The link leads to more information about the sanctuary and the bears, NOT directly to the donations page. You can navigate easily from there if you wish. Any precious gift you give today can help save and care for Asia's most abused animals.