Asiatic black bears or moon bears have lost 30 to 49 percent of their population in the last 30 years, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As we reported last year, this trend is expected to continue for the next 30 years if changes are not made to the way we treat these bears.
While habitat loss from logging and development threaten moon bears like many other species, bear bile farming is also a major concern. Many moon bears are captured in the wild and are either killed illegally for their skin or bear paws or held captive in bear bile facilities.
According to Animals Asia, around 10,000 bears are kept at these farms in China, with 2,400 others suffering in Vietnam.
At the farms, bile is “milked” from these bears regularly for use in traditional Asian medicine. And as with any industrialized animal confinement facility, bear bile farms are extremely cruel. The bears are kept in cages so small they are unable to stand or turn around. Animals Asia reports that some can even be kept caged for up to 30 years. What’s more, these bears do not only suffer at painful “milking” times, but also throughout their captivity as many succumb to starvation, dehydration, and various diseases, tumors, and infections until they are ultimately killed, or released back into the wild in some cases.
No animal deserves to be treated in this way, and Animals Asia, along with other bear advocacy and protection organizations, are doing their best to end this cruelty.
To honor the end of 2013 and the start of 2014, on New Year’s Eve, Animals Asia released a video featuring sand artist Yuan Baolong crafting a beautiful yet haunting scene of a captured moon bear and her experiences in captivity. The scene is paired with an equally mesmerizing song called “If Only I Could Speak,” sung by Yang Lingyan and written by Amy Le-Owens from the perspective of a captive moon bear.
In the song, Le-Owens’ moon bear narrator begs us to “look into [her] eyes, / gaze upon the despair / and [to] please listen to the words of [her] story.”
And so, without further ado, hit “play” on Animals Asia’s stunning new video below to hear and see this moon bear’s story.
As the organization states at the video’s beginning, “Whatever your dreams, plans and hopes are for 2014, never ever give up on them. We won’t,” and so be sure to spread the video around as a symbol of your own desire to realize your dreams, plans and hopes for animals in 2014 and beyond.
Image source: Animals Asia / Facebook