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Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa

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Category: Help a species: Bears

  1. Two moon bear cubs in Laos need rescuing

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    Free the Bears have had news of two more bear cubs in Laos who need rescuing.

    They estimate that it will be a 10 hour journey to reach the two cubs and they hope to do this later this week.

    Sadly, they also had news of a tiny moon bear cub which a person was trying to sell into the illegal wildlife trade.  Before the cub could be found, it died.

    Free the Bears are hoping to rescue the two bear cubs later this week.  If you can, please make a donation and/or spread the word.

    They will have updates on their Facebook or Instagram pages for updates.

  2. Freedom for Lam the Nowhere Bear with Animals Asia

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    Wow, those amazing folks at Animals Asia do move fast when there is a bear in trouble.

    In the late hours of Sunday evening, their Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre got an urgent call from their friends at the Forest Protection Department.

    They had removed a bear in a distressed state from a bile farm in Phung Thuong – it’s a bear bile farming hot spot in Vietnam.  

    The bear needed a safe haven FAST.

    And he got it.   With just 12 hours notice, Animals Asia were able to drop everything and welcome this bear home.

    They have called him Lam.  It means forest in Vietnamese.

    Please donate to help Animals Asia help Lam and bears like Lam 

    Lam's new life

    He’s now got lush green spaces to enjoy.

    He can have fun bathing in pools, climbing structures, roam and forage – or just snooze in the warmth of the sun!

    After his 30 day quarantine period, he’ll even be able to enjoy some fun with new friends – probably the first he’s had in his life.  He’ll have enrichment exercises to improve his health and wellbeing and keep his mind active.

    In short, he’s on his way to becoming a bear and enjoying bear activities!

    What a change from being stuck in a tiny cage, his freedom stolen.   Just look at the care Lam has had since arriving at the rescue centre. 

    Please help Nowhere Bears like Lam

    Animals Asia call bears like Lam a “nowhere bear” because he’s suffering in the shadows, unseen.  There are more nowhere bears out there, waiting for rescue.

    You can help Animals Asia rescue and care for bears like Lam by making a donation.  Every single bit counts.

    These bears need to know we all care for them and love them.

    Sending bear hugs to you all!

    Please donate here.

  3. Help free bears in Armenia

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    International Animal Rescue have a petition on line.  And it needs all of us to support it. 

    They need all of us to help join their fight to end bear poaching in Armenia and to rescue the bears who are left and waiting for us to help free them.  They are being kept in terrible conditions.

    IAR has been working with the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), their partners in Armenia.   So far they have rescued over 30 bears.

    Help International Animal Rescue free bears from captivity

    It’s time to Break the Cage!

    IAR estimate that there could be as many as 50 more bears who are waiting to be rescued.  They need all our help to set these bears free.

    The brown bears are poached from the wild and then locked up in tiny cages.  Usually their mothers are killed, and the little cubs are captured and sold into a miserable life. They may be kept in tiny squalid cages.  They eat scraps, and drink dirty water.

    Please sign IAR’s petition to end this horrible trade.

    And please spread the word!



  4. Help Free the Bears rescue and care for bears!

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    Did you see Bears about the House, with conservationist Giles Clark, on BBC2?

    Giles Clark had gone to help the charity Free the Bears in Laos with a gorgeous little sun bear cub, Mary, and two delightful bear cubs David and Jane who don’t have such a happy ending.

    It was riveting television and a chance to learn an lot about the way charities are working to help captive bears and little bear cubs found in the wild.  Mary moves to an enclosure of her own with trees and a climbing frame.

    I love the charity Free the Bears.   Like so many charities, they are going through a very difficult time because the coronavirus has brought a halt to all the fundraising activities they ran to bring in money to keep rescuing bears and to care for the bears in their sanctuaries in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

     Sun bears and moon bears (also cared for by Free the Bears) are endangered, listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable to extinction.  

    As an example, sun bears such as Mary (who was featured in Bears about the House) are the smallest of all bears, but they have a tongue which is 30cm long (that’s a foot!), huge paws and a sun-shaped patch on their chest which gives them their name. 

    Sun bears are excellent climbers – they live in tropical forests in South East Asia.  There they spend more time than other bears in trees, and make nests there.  They are crucial for seed dispersal and  pest control.

    The problem sun bears have is that they have lost 60% of their land due to habitat destruction and over-exploitation.  Not only that, they are hunted for their paws and their gallbladders – these are sold on the black market.  

    So they need protecting.

    As governments work to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, so Free the Bears has more to do, rescuing bears who have been held captive for bear bile farming, educating the public, looking after the bears they have rescued – so far 950 in all.  As more bear bile farms close and Free the Bears rescue those bears, so they need to build more enclosures.   These bears have been captive, in some cases for a very long time.  They cannot go into the wild upon release – they need gentle, loving and knowledgeable expert care, sometimes for ever.

    This video shows the incredible difference Free the Bears made to a number of bears back in 2020.


    Sun Bears and Moon Bears have bear necessities

    • They need a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, with dog biscuits for protein and also pulses and grains
    • They are clever so they need a variety of enrichment activities to stimulate their minds
    • They love to have their own space so they have climbing platforms and hammocks – most bears don’t see other bears in the forest;  they are very private
    • Many of the bears need veterinary care, some for a while.  Remember that many have been used for bear bile farming – a needle has been injected into their gallbladders to access their bile whilst the bears have been drugged
    • Their enclosures have an environment that’s as near as possible to the natural habitat the bears would normally enjoy – these enclosures need maintaining.

     Of course, this all costs.

     To help fund their work, Free the Bears are developing Volunteer Programmes and Bear Care Tours.   And they have fundraisers working hard to help raise funds.  Of course, these programmes, tours and normal fundraising activities came to a halt when the coronavirus hit.  Fundraising has been hit very hard.

    Free the Bears need help! 

    If you’re looking for a meaningful gift for a bear lover that will really make a difference, or you simply want to get involved and help, you could help the bears that Free the Bears are looking after:

    • Be a bear carer – there are different levels available from £5.00 a month. 
    • Sponsor a bear (£240 for a year)
    • Send a gift to the bears such as a jar of honey, a hammock, a climbing frame, a cub care kit donation, a bathing pool donation, a treat ball donation
    • Send a gift for a bear lover to your human!
    • Simply donate!

    Free the Bears is a remarkable charity, founded by Dr Mary Hutton (now 82 but she did her stint during the Night in a Cage fundraiser in May 2020) and they need our help.   They are struggling.

    Want to become a Bear Carer?

    There are four levels and I quote (pretty much)

    1. BEAR ANGELS (£50/mth) provide a healthy diet for 20 days, enrichment to stimulate minds, vet care, hammocks and pools.

    2. BEAR CARERS(£25/mth) provide a healthy diet for 10 days, enrichment treats to stimulate the bears' complex minds or vital veterinary care.

    3. CUB CARERS (£13/mth) provide the vital specialist care required for vulnerable cubs which come into our care after their mothers have been killed by hunters.

    4. BEAR BUDDIES (£5/mth) provide a healthy diet for 2 days or help provide daily enrichment treats to stimulate the complex minds of the bears.

    You can pay in a number of currencies, including Euros and American or Canadian dollars, and Australian dollars. 

    Whatever you do, please do something to help.

    The bears need us all to act.  They have been rescued and they need our help to ensure they get all the wonderful loving care and attention they need for the rest of their lives.

    Visit Free the Bears' website here.


  5. Give Montana’s wolves, bison and bears your voice and support

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    In Defense of Animals say that wildlife specialists and conservationists are concerns that some of Montana’s most loved species such as grizzly bears, grey wolves nad bison are threatened with extinction.

    For back in January, Montana’s legislature introduced ten bills which experts are saying is really a #waronwildlife.

    Best estimates suggest there are about 5,000 wild bison, 1,000 grizzly bears and 850 wolves in Montana.  But, say In Defense of Animals, lawmakers are pushing through bills which are politically driven.     They will harm individual animals with unethical and old fashioned hunting practices.

    Amongst other things, the new bills are proposing:

    • To allow wolf snaring
    • To lengthen the wolf trapping season by 30 days
    • To reimburse hunters for time they spend hunting or trapping wolves
    • To allow the killing of all wolves in the state until only 15 breeding pairs remain
    • To stop the relocation of bears who go out of protected areas (so the bears will be killed if they wander off course)
    • To allow hunting dogs to be used in the hunting of bear during the full span of their waking lives, outside of hibernation

    To establish that hunting, fishing and trapping is the preferred manner of managing wild animal populations across the state (as opposed to scientific conservation based strategies)

    So what can we do to help these bears, wolves and bison

    Please join In Defense of Animals in calling onGov. Greg Gianforte to veto these bills to protect wild animals and ensure that Montana’s reputation as a wilderness and wildlife paradise stays intact.

    In Defense of Animals says there are a number of things we can all do, including:

    1. Call the Governor’s office to ask him to veto the current slate of anti-wilderness bills - details can be found here, and there are a number of points you can make, which In Defense of Animals list on their ways to help here

    2. Comment on Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte's Facebook page and ask him to veto the current slate of anti-wildlife bills.

    3. Comment to Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the U.S. Department of Transportation on Twitter - there's a message they have put together that you can tweet

    4. 3. Please fill out the form here to email Gov. Greg Gianforte to implore him to veto these bills.