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Two bears start a new life after 20 years of imprisonment as they get rescued from Thailand

They were imprisoned and subjected to inhumane conditions before this non-profit organization decided to rescue them.

Two bears start a new life after 20 years of imprisonment as they get rescued from Thailand
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Animals Asia

Bears often have a bad reputation because of how huge they are and their instinct to hunt for survival. However, it doesn't give anyone the right to imprison them in inhumane conditions and subject them to years of torture. In 2023, a non-profit rescue foundation named Animal Asia rescued two bears named Buzz and Armstrong and brought them to a new sanctuary in Vietnam called Bach Ma National Park. Thanks to their efforts, the bears were able to start their life afresh in 2024 after spending more than two decades locked up in cramped cages by a Vietnamese bear bile farmer who surrendered the animals to the authorities in October 2023.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Janko Ferlic
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Janko Ferlic

Buzz and Armstrong were subjected to regular painful bile extractions while they were kept in poor conditions since 2002. "The conditions on these bile farms are inhumane and unhygienic. The bile bears are often kept in very small cages in which they cannot turn around or stand up. Bears grow up in these tiny cages to the point where their bodies have contorted to fit the bars," a spokesperson for Animals Asia said in a statement. The bears took time to settle in the new sanctuary and went through a 30-day quarantine period after their rescue.

"This is to keep them under intensive care, to monitor their mental and physical health carefully. The quarantine period is also important to prepare them for accessing the dens and enclosures with other bears, to help them gradually regain strength and confidence," Animals Asia shared. Both Buzz and Armstrong completed their quarantine period in December 2023 and received treatment for dehydration, dental problems and malnutrition. Buzz became the first one amongst the bear duo to step foot outside in her large outdoor habitat located inside the sanctuary. They filmed a video of Buzz carefully sticking out her head from the enclosure to inspect the new environment and then put a single paw outside on the grassy ground.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Alexas Fotos
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Alexas Fotos

When Buzz finally settles in the new space comfortably, she is introduced to Armstrong. "There's such a deep and special bond between these two. Indeed, Armstrong and Buzz have been together on the farm for more than 20 years without having any direct interactions but they always sense each other's presence. In their first meeting, they cuddled right after our team pulled the sliding door. They both got super excited as if the couples had been separated for too long, finally meeting each other after all the longings and love," Animals Asia quoted.

Both Armstrong and Buzz are now living in a shared space under the care of sanctuary staff as they keep each other company in their new hygienic and bigger home. The caretakers at the sanctuary noted that Buzz savors honey and strawberry jam and is fond of taking a good nap after her snack time. Animals Asia's focus is now directed towards rescuing more bears like Buzz and Armstrong who have fallen victim to the crude process of bear bile farming. According to the reports of the rescue organization, moon bears and sun bears are two common species that are used in bear bile farming and are nearing extinction in Vietnam.


Animals Asia has previously rescued five bears named Dawn, Noon, Midnight, Chronos, and Twilight from bile farmers in Phung Thuong and relocated them to a new sanctuary. "Bear bile farming is a cruel system designed to extract bile from living bears. Bears are confined permanently to small cages and denied free access to food and water. Here in Vietnam, caged bears are drugged with ketamine before being lassoed to have their bile extracted via a long unsterile needle and electric pump," Thuy Hoang, a sanctuary manager with Animals Asia, told PEOPLE. Animals Asia and the Vietnamese authorities have been working together for years to eradicate bear bile farming from the country and give the animals stuck at these farms a better life.


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