Bear rescued after 20 years in a tiny cage


After enduring twenty years in captivity, a dedicated team of wildlife experts and local authorities successfully rescued an adult female bear named Na from a bear bile farm.

For 20 long years, Na endured the confines of her cramped cage, deprived of natural light and the freedom to express her natural behaviors. The conditions were deplorable, with barely enough space for her to move around. She endured all this pain and suffering just so her bile could be extracted for Traditional Asian Medicine.

Na - World Animal Protection / One Touch Connections

Na in her tiny cage on the bear bile farm | Photo: World Animal Protection / One Touch Connections

Together with Vietnam’s Forest Protection Department (FPD), we have been monitoring this farm since 2019. We have spent years trying to persuade the farmer to surrender their bears to a sanctuary where they could receive extensive care and live out the rest of their lives. Sadly, Na is the last survivor on the farm after five other bears died before they could be rescued. But even to change the life of one animal makes all this persistent dedication and hard work worth it.  

On October 17, 2023, Na was successfully rescued from her tiny cage. 

Following her rescue, Na was transferred to a bear sanctuary operated by FOUR PAWS. This sanctuary provides rescued bears with the highest quality of life, offering veterinary care, ample space to roam, and the opportunity to live alongside 45 other Asiatic black bears. 

Ursa Na na gaiola de transporte, durante sua transferência para o santuário

Na being transferred to her new home at FOUR PAWS bear sanctuary | Photo: World Animal Protection / One Touch Connections

Na was in extremely poor health upon rescue. She suffers from multiple severe health issues commonly seen in bile bears, such as chronic osteoarthritis, dental, liver and heart disease. Fortunately, she is now under the dedicated care of professionals committed to her well-being and with each day in care, Na is getting stronger.  

With Na, the most concerning issue is kidney problems, likely caused by years of poor access to fresh water and proper nutrition. Na currently has an extensive medication regime. However, her powerful nose allows her to sniff out which food is combined with medications, leading to challenges for her caretakers to convince her to take them! She is also being fed food items with high water content, such as watermelon, dragon fruit, and ice blocks for both enrichment and to ensure adequate hydration. 

After 30-days in quarantine, to protect both her and sanctuary residents from any potential disease transfer, Na has been transferred to the larger bear house dens. This time in quarantine was also a meaningful transition phase where Na is introduced to larger spaces, around three times the size of her previous space, and introduced to new enrichment items like watermelon, which she has taken quite a liking to! In her new space, she continues to be exposed to new spaces, smells, and new bears, and she is quite curious of it all! 

Thanks to your support, Na will now live a life of peace.  

Sadly, there are still thousands of bears suffering on bile farms across Asia.