VIER PFOTEN App nun für Iphone/Ipad und Android erhältlich

VIER PFOTEN App Download für


Heartwarming: Vietnamese bear Hai Chan first steps into her new sanctuary

FOUR PAWS releases former bile bear with amputated front paws into outdoor enclosure

Ninh Binh (Vietnam) / Sydney, 18 December 2017 – It seems almost a miracle: the Asian black bear, Hai Chan, rescued from a Vietnamese bile bear farm in November by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, can walk despite her missing front paws.

FOUR PAWS veterinarians and animal caretakers lovingly nursed the long-suffering and utterly weakened bear for six weeks at its newly built BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh in north-eastern Vietnam. First in the quarantine ward and afterwards in the bear house of the new sanctuary, Hai Chan has now finally able to venture into her large, close-to-nature outdoor enclosure.

“The moment the doors to the enclosure opened and Hai Chan stuck her nose out of the bear house was very touching,” says Jeroen van Kernebeek, Country Director, FOUR PAWS Australia.

“For the first time ever in her life, the bear walked on grass. We are very happy with how fast Hai Chan has adapted to her new environment and also with her mobility. She walks on the flats of her front legs and she has also started moving around on her stumps. We have always been confident that she would walk and cope with her disability; however, it is almost a miracle that she built up the strength to do so that fast,” says Szilvia Kalogeropoulu, veterinarian at FOUR PAWS.

The entire FOUR PAWS team is impressed by Hai Chan’s rapid physical and mental recovery after the terrible suffering she had to endure in her past.

“From day one we could already see a change in her behaviour, from lethargic and uninterested, lying on the floor of the bile cage, to curious and bright. She is very relaxed and happy with the bear keepers. She likes her comfort and enjoys making a nest to sleep in during the day. And she loves enrichment that has food in it, especially water spinach and apples,” said Kalogeropoulu.

In the bear house, Hai Chan has a special low hammock bed made just for her as she cannot climb into a high one like the others. She has extra straw on the floor for softer walking and her enrichment is placed lower. Hai Chan uses her stumps to hold food and to make her bed, and she is able to lead the very normal life of a happy bear. Soon, the team will try to socialise Hai Chan with Thai Van and Thai Giang, the two other bile bears that FOUR PAWS rescued and transferred to the sanctuary on the same day as Hai Chan.


Hai Chan’s pitiful past

Prior to her rescue, Hai Chan spent most of her life on a farm in a tiny metal cage in a filthy and poorly ventilated room. It is very likely that her paws were amputated and used to produce bear paw wine. Not only were the keeping conditions miserable, but also the lack of nutrition and the painful bile extraction procedure have taken a huge toll on the bear.

The bear bile business

Bear bile has been used as a remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for several thousand years and is still a sought-after product in many Asian countries. Although the sale and consumption of bear bile is banned in Vietnam, an estimated 1,300 bears are still suffering on around 400 farms, and the illegal trade of bear bile on Vietnam’s streets, in TCM shops, on bile farm farms and online is flourishing.

Due to the regular, brutal extraction of bile and the lack of veterinary care, the bears suffer from various diseases such as infections, abscesses, blood poisoning and liver cancer. The extremely poor keeping conditions on the bear farms also lead to serious behavioural disorders such as self-mutilation.

Joint mission against animal cruelty

In 2005 the government launched a campaign to phase out bear farming in Vietnam through attrition. All captive bears were registered and microchipped as part of an effort to ensure that no new bears entered farms. The bears, which remained the property of the state, were to be looked after by the farmers until their transfer to a local sanctuary, or natural death. Bear farmers were also required to sign a declaration to never again extract bile. In 2017 the Vietnamese government also issued a statement of their intent to end bear farming and begin rescuing bears.

In addition to supporting this and conducting its own rescue missions, FOUR PAWS has also launched an international campaign. Animal lovers worldwide can sign a petition to encourage the Vietnamese government to do whatever it takes to put an end to bear farming:

Almost 600,000 signatures have already been collected.