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Both Sun Bears and Moon Bears are subject to a practice called bile farming. Done largely in China and Vietnam, these bears are kept in cages for the duration of their lives in order to have bile extracted from their gall bladders as an ingredient for natural medicines. Such was the case for a moon bear named Ti Map, until Animals Asia stepped in and ended two decades of suffering.

Driving almost the entire length of Vietnam to rescue Ti Map and bring him back to their Vietnam Bear Sanctuary,  Animals Asia has been caring for the bear ever since. His road to recovery, however, will be a long one. Unaccustomed to interacting with other bears, Ti Map spent much of his first days of freedom in his new den. Though the door was open for him to explore the outside and feel the grass on his feet, years of abuse and pain kept him from feeling brave enough.

Until one day, he ventured out into the sun. While this gentle soul still prefers to keep to himself, only interacting with the gentlest of the bears at his new refuge, he now faces a future devoid of cages and fear. Thanks to organizations like Animals Asia, bears like Ti Map have a chance to live a more natural life. We can only strive to end the cruel practice of bile farming entirely, so the rest of the bears sentenced to this practice can do the same.

At first, looking outside was all Ti Map felt comfortable doing.

But then one day, he got brave.

“Hey, this green stuff is alright.”

It’s difficult to imagine the courage needed to explore when your whole life has been in a cage.

Though he hasn’t ventured far from his den yet, the hope is that each day Ti Map will make more and more of the sanctuary his own.

All image source: Animals Asia/Facebook