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BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh provides spacious species-appropriate outdoor enclosures, two bear houses with interior rooms for the bears, a quarantine station and veterinary unit, a feeding kitchen and an administrative building. 

The FOUR PAWS sanctuary will allow the Vietnamese authorities to make greater efforts in monitoring bears farms and allow for the immediate confiscation of ‘illegal’ bears with the knowledge that there is an appropriate home ready to take the bears. Furthermore, an increase in sanctuary capacity in Vietnam will allow for greater efforts in encouraging bear farm owners to voluntary give up their bears and allow the bears to live the remainder of their lives in a species-appropriate manner.  


Closing farms and transferring all of the remaining bears to rescue centres and sanctuaries is the vision for the next three years in Vietnam. Our ultimate goal is to be able to house and care for 100 former bile bears.

Nhi Nho – rescued November 2017

Nhi Nho spent most of her life on a farm in a tiny metal cage in a filthy and poorly ventilated room. Not only were the keeping conditions miserable, but also the lack of nutrition and the painful bile extraction procedure had taken a huge toll on the bear. Caged for approximately ten years, Nhi Nho suffered from stress disorders, enlarged adrenal glands and was missing two front paws. Sadly, we assume that her paws were amputated and used to produce bear paw wine.


FOUR PAWS veterinarians and animal caretakers nursed the bear for five weeks at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. First in the quarantine ward and afterwards in the bear house of the new sanctuary, Nhi Nho is able to venture into her large, close-to-nature outdoor enclosure.


Formerly known as Hai Chan, which means ‘two legs' in Vietnamese, was renamed Nhi Nho, which means cheerful and playful in Vietnamese.


Nhi Nho is now one of our most active bears, climbing and swimming, at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. Recently her caretakers has been providing her a range of new and different meals and she absolutely loves them, especially water spinach and apples.

Thai Van and Thai Giang – rescued November 2017

These two former bile bears were rescued from another farm on the same mission as Nhi Nho. Female bear Thai Van and male bear Thai Giang also have a difficult past. Their owner kept the two 16-year-old Asiatic black bears as pets in the backyard of a steel production company in dreadful conditions. Their teeth were dull and the animals are full of parasites. In addition, Thai Van is missing some fingers.


Since their rescue, they have both thrived and socialise well together, playing outdoors in their new habitat spending most of their time together. They love all kind of enrichment offered to them, and they don`t mind to share the treats they get from the team on site. 

Misa – rescued January 2018

FOUR PAWS rescued Misa, an Asiatic black bear who had been kept as a family pet in Ho Chi Minh City. Trapped and isolated in a small cage for thirteen years, Misa urgently needed veterinary care to treat growths, likely skin tumours, covering her face. A FOUR PAWS team were able to provide Misa with immediate medical care and remove the growths from around her eyes, which were the result of a viral infection of the skin.


FOUR PAWS rescued Misa in January 2018 and she now lives at our sanctuary where she is one of the best eaters! She seems to love eating peanuts and dragon fruit the most, and she tends to get very sleepy between feeding times. 

May and Binh Yen – rescued April 2018

May and Binh Yen were kept in horrible conditions, on a bile farm where nine bears had already died. The two bears had been caged for 13 years in the Vietnamese province of Ninh Binh but with their rescue, Ninh Binh province is now bear free.

At her rescue, May was severely overweight and suffered from an inflamed gallbladder and Binh Yen was in critical condition – she is in the worst condition of all the bile bears rescued by FOUR PAWS so far.


“The ultrasound showed Binh Yen’s gallbladder and liver have changed significantly. A scar at the entrance of the gallbladder clearly indicates abuse as a bile bear.” – Dr Johanna Painer, FOUR PAWS veterinarian.


Since coming to BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh however, both bears have thrived. The two bears were successfully rehabilitated and have each been introduced to their new companions. May has been introduced to Thai Van and Thai Giang, while Binh Yen was successfully introduced to Misa.

FOUR PAWS rescue of May and Binh Yen in action

Hoa Lan and Hoa Tra - rescued August 2018

Hoa Tra (Tea Flower) and Hoa Lan (Orchid) have spent over 12 years locked in cages so small they can barely move. Sold as cubs to a bear farm, they have lived in these dark, small cages without daylight or fresh air. Watch a video of their rescue here!


In August, FOUR PAWS had the opportunity to rescue them from their suffering, after their owner decided they deserve a better life and have voluntarily agreed to give them to FOUR PAWS to live at our sanctuary.


Currently in quarantine, Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan are being cared for by specialist vets and keepers. During their recuperation, they will rediscover their instincts and curiosities with enrichment toys, new foods and behavioural stimulation. After quarantine, the bears will then spend two weeks in the bear house for further acclimatisation as they are prepared for the outdoors. 

Hoa Lan before her rescue