Skip to content

You are using an outdated browser

Internet Explorer is not supported by this site and Microsfot has stopped releasing updates, therefore you may encounter issues whilst visiting this site and we strongly recommend that you upgrade your browser for modern web functionality, a better user experience and improved security.

Upgrade my browser

Animal rights activists accomplish unprecedented bear rescue mission in China

Animal rights activists accomplish unprecedented bear rescue mission in China
Source: AnimalsAsia.org

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 1,250 km/775 mile journey from Nanning to Chengdu has been dubbed ‘the largest operation of its kind ever undertaken by any animal welfare organisation.’
Animals Asia, an organisation working to end bear bile farming, has safely transferred 101 Asiatic black bears (or moon bears) from an former bear bile farm in a southern province of China to its bear rescue centre in Chengdu, China. The 1,250 km/775 mile journey from Nanning to Chengdu has been dubbed ‘the largest operation of its kind ever undertaken by any animal welfare organisation.’ Source: Facebook/AnimalsAsia

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…

Source: AnimalsAsia/Earth.org

In a huge feat of logistics, where Covid-19 could have disrupted plans at any moment, each bear was individually moved into a transport cage, loaded onto a truck and travelled the 750 miles from Nanning to Chengdu.
Late on Friday 9 April, Animals Asia received the news they’d been waiting for: the last permit allowing them to move the bears to our sanctuary in Chengdu had finally been signed! In a huge feat of logistics, where Covid-19 could have disrupted plans at any moment, each bear was individually moved into a transport cage, loaded onto a truck and travelled the 750 miles from Nanning to Chengdu. Source: AnimalsAsia.org
Each leg of the operation took over 55 hours and was accompanied by Animals Asia’s specialist team of vets and bear carers to ensure the bears were kept safe and healthy along the way.
The entire mission took place over three phases between 19 April and 27 May 2021, with the bears being transferred in three convoys of nine trucks, each carrying up to four transport cages. Each leg of the operation took over 55 hours and was accompanied by Animals Asia’s specialist team of vets and bear carers to ensure the bears were kept safe and healthy along the way. Source: AnimalsAsia.org

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.” 

Source: AnimalsAsia/Earth.org 

The sanctuary team has been gearing up for the Nanning bears' arrival, preparing enclosures and planning group integrations. The bears were placed into quarantine to slowly introduce them into their new life with its new and unfamiliar smells, sounds and surroundings.
When they got the bears back to Chengdu, the real work began! The sanctuary team has been gearing up for the Nanning bears’ arrival, preparing enclosures and planning group integrations. The bears were placed into quarantine to slowly introduce them into their new life with its new and unfamiliar smells, sounds and surroundings. Source: AnimalsAsia.org
However some bears in one section of the sanctuary have been able to venture out into a specially prepared enclosure.
Carers need to monitor the bears’ progress and ensure they are both mentally and physically ready before integrating them into the main sanctuary with other bears. However some bears in one section of the sanctuary have been able to venture out into a specially prepared enclosure. Source: AnimalsAsia.org

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.

Source: AnimalsAsia/Earth.org 

Over the years, they slowly introduced them to one or two other bears after getting to know their characters, needs and temperaments. At the sanctuary they will live with several other bears, some from Nanning and some established residents, based on their personality, age, body weight, health condition and gender.
When Animals Asia first arrived at Nanning, the bears were in separate cages. Over the years, they slowly introduced them to one or two other bears after getting to know their characters, needs and temperaments. At the sanctuary they will live with several other bears, some from Nanning and some established residents, based on their personality, age, body weight, health condition and gender. Source: Facebook/AnimalsAsia
These bears need a lifetime of continual kindness and specialist care.
It sounds easy, but it will take bears time to build trust and settle into their new environment and become fully integrated into sanctuary life. These bears need a lifetime of continual kindness and specialist care. Source: Facebook/AnimalsAsia
If you’ve been inspired by their journey, please consider becoming a monthly donor to help make every day special for a rescued moon bear. For more details, click here ?
Back a broken bear. If you’ve been inspired by their journey, please consider becoming a monthly donor to help make every day special for a rescued moon bear. For more details, click here ? Source: Save a Bear

We are delighted to share a short message from one of our wonderful supporters, the actor, writer, comedian and great friend of Animals Asia, Ricky Gervais. Ricky has been with us on every step of our journey to bring the #101BearsHome from the ex-bile farm in Nanning to our award-winning sanctuary, including his bear Derek. From everyone at Animals Asia, and of course, all the bears whose lives you have helped to save, thank you, thank you, 101 times thank you! Source: Facebook/AnimalsAsia
101 Moon Bear rescue a success: Animals Asia’s founder and CEO Jill Robinson official announcement! Animals Asia has been working on a monumental operation in China. Today, we are overjoyed to announce that we have brought 101 bears home from an ex-bile farm in Nanning to our award winning sanctuary in Chengdu over 750 miles away. This wouldn’t have been possible without the kind and generous support of people like you from all around the world. Source: Facebook/AnimalsAsia

Make an Impact

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.