In the U.S., most people aren’t familiar with the concept of “bear bile,” but in parts of Asia, this product is renowned for it’s “medicinal” properties. Thought to relieve inflammation and cure some pretty unbelievable diseases, bear bile is highly sought after. Unfortunately, to meet this demand, commercial bear bile farms have become a norm – to the huge detriment of Moon bears and Sun bears. These bears are the most common targets of the bile industry. In order to use them to produce this “medicine,” they are captured from the wild, or bred in captivity, and forced into tiny”crush cage” where they have the fluid drained from their gallbladders multiple times a day. Yes, it is as gruesome as it sounds.

According to Animals Asia nearly 11,000 bears are kept on farms across Asia specifically for this type of market. The majority are in China and approximately 1,200 are in Vietnam. Thankfully, there are many organizations working to rescue bears from this sad and painful life.

A rescued Sun bear basks in the glow of knowing that he will be safe from harm for the rest of his life.

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This relaxed and meditative looking bear is a Malayan Sun Bear who was rescued by the Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary in Vietnam. Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary is run by Animals Asia and receives bear cubs that have been confiscated from wildlife poachers and rescued from the wildlife trade. It’s a large semi-natural space where these rescued bears can live out their lives in a large space (no tiny cages here!) without fear of being used for their bile.

You Can Help Other Bears

The tides against bear bile are turning and change is happening every day! Just check out this other rescue carried out by Animals Asia that shows the incredible work they are doing to ensure a brighter future for Sun and Moon bears.

  • You can help this organization on their mission by doing the following:
  • Never contribute to the market. This means, not purchasing exotic animals or products made from exotic animals. It also means not visiting places that hold these animals in captive.
  • Consider fundraising for groups like Animal Asia or giving a donation.
  • Share this post and help raise awareness!

Image source: JoAnne McArthur/We Animals