The demand for traditional Asian medicine has forced moon bears into environments of mass suffering for years in bear bile farms around China. These bears endure constant confinement in metal cages – some so small that they can barely stand up or turn around.
A number of bears are poached from their wild homes to become bile bears, spending the rest of their lives having bile painfully extracted from their bodies without anesthesia. It’s estimated that 10,000 bears are currently held captive in bile farms across China.
Leading bear advocacy nonprofit, Animals Asia, is trying to change the fate of these bears through education, outreach, and rescue work. The organization is currently at work on a historic rescue of 130 bile bears which is set to be one of the largest bear rescues in the world.
The rescue effort is just one amazing part of a larger plan. In addition to rescuing these 130 bears from suffering, Animals Asia is working with a bear bile farm owner to covert his facility in Nanning, China, into a sanctuary – a place where previously abused bears can finally live out their lives in peace.
After seeing a decline in profitability and popularity, Yan Shaohong, general manager of Flower World, which ran the Nanning bear farm, decided it was time to stop the practice and halted extractions in 2011. However, the bears at the farm have remained confined without proper care or veterinary attention.
Not wanting to continue the cruel practice of bear bile extraction, Shaohong opted to contact Animals Asia to help him with moving his bears into a brighter, more humane future.
“China has long been outraged by this cruel practice and our statistics show 87 percent of Chinese are against bear bile farming. This negotiation is a result of years of growing awareness and increased opposition, with the bear farmer showing the moral integrity to do the right thing. We believe it can be the start of a wider conversation, with all parties represented, with the aim of finally ending bear bile farming in China,” said Jill Robinson, Animals Asia founder and CEO.
The two year farm-to-sanctuary conversion process has now begun and Animals Asia is raising funds to make it a fully realized option for all 130 bears. It will take about $5 million U.S. dollars to cover conversion costs and bear care for the first three years.
To get involved with this amazing transformation and rescue effort, please visit Animals Asia’s Piece by Piece website for additional information and donation opportunities.
Lead image source: Animals Asia