Two 13-year-old bears used for their bile freed from cage for first time

Two 13-year-old female bears used for their bile and who had been kept captive all their lives in dark steel barred cages in the Thai Nguyen province of Vietnam have been freed for the first time in their lives. Meet Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan; two lucky bear survivors, who for the first time felt grass under their paws and looked up into the sky to see the sun.

According to, the Asiatic bears were purchased in 2005 as cubs and were repeatedly poked and jabbed with syringes to extract their bile – part of the digestive system produced in the liver. The inhumane and painful procedure includes using a long needle injected into the bear’s abdomen. Often the procedure is carried out in substandard and unhygienic conditions, and the bears are administered huge amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive after infections commonly occur. Meanwhile the animals suffer from painful abscesses and sepsis – not to  mention their psychological problems from being locked up and regularly put through painful procedures.

Reports of bears fitted with “metal jackets” to keep their wounds open, catheters inserted with little or no anesthesia using during the “milking” procedures, emphasize the inhumanity and outright cruelty for these animals. Bear bile is sold on the black market, including Australia and is used to treat everything from sexual inadequacies, cancer to hemorrhoids. There is no scientific proof to prove any effectiveness.  Bear bile contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid; in modern times both herbal and synthetic alternatives provide the same medicinal properties.

Fortunately Four Paws Australia, an animal advocacy group was able to convince the owner to release the bears, even though he has denied using them to extract their bile that has since become illegal in the country in 2005. At least 900 bears remain caged in private bile farms across the country. In China, the illicit industry continues to flourish.

Rescuers have been placed in a tenuous position as they don’t want to discourage bear owners from turning over their bears, and therefore have made it a practice not to criticize. And so it came to be when Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan were sedated, carried from their cages and given a full medical examination. Besides their paws having been covered with thick skin, severe dental problems from chewing on the bars from malnutrition and boredom, these two bears have joined eight other rescued bears at the Ninh Binh sanctuary.

Check out the freedom video for Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan from Four Paws Australia. Here they are playing together for the first time in their lives and actually enjoying each other. Bears are just so forgiving. No warnings needed to view  – just watch and smile.

Read previous coverage of the bile bears here.

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Social media outraged at former NHL player posing with dead grizzly bear

A former National Hockey League player from Canada has come under social media outrage after he tweeted about killing a grizzly bear. Tim Brent, who used to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, posted a photo of himself with the dead bear boasting he had “put an awesome stalk on him.”

And on his Facebook page, Brent explained his hunt for the bear and followed up just a few days later of his killing of “his” Yukon moose which he said “absolutely humbled” him.


“So this is the Mountain Grizzly Bear! We put an awesome stalk on him but he spotted us about 75 yards away. Instead of taking off, I think he thought we were an easy meal and started heading right at us. It was very easy to tell by his posturing that this boar[sic] owned the valley we were hunting and wasn’t scared of anything! When he got to 25 steps he stopped for a split second. My heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest, but the 30 Nosler did the job and stopped him in his tracks. Couldn’t be more thrilled to take a world class mountain Grizzly in one of the most beautiful settings in the world!!!”

As to the hunting and killing of the moose, Brent, 35, posted additional photos stating:

I am absolutely humbled by this animal. We all have times we hunt hard and don’t get rewarded, and then every once in awhile we get lucky and are in the right place at the right time (having a pretty awesome father-in-law doesn’t hurt either!). The stars definitely aligned in the Yukon when I spotted this giant bull in the willows. I am thankful and I will never forget this moment in time, with family, in the most beautiful place on earth. This is a moose of a lifetime!!!”

Brent was immediately met with social media outrage for his hunting of grizzly bears believed to be shrinking in population in the Yukon region of Canada as the direct result of hunting. Experts state there are less than 7,000 left in the area, yet hunters continue to kill them. The loss of the female bears has made a significant decrease in the grizzly population. Hunting remains legal in the area; a license fee to kill a grizzly is $750.

While posting on Twitter, Brent received thousands of derogatory comments; one coming from animal activist comedian Ricky Gervais who tweeted in response.

“I bet killing this beautiful bear put ‘an awesome stalk’ on Tim too.”

Most people called the photos disgusting as the insults hurdled at Brent went continued. Brent later tweeted he had received death threats, however Twitter responded stating there had been no violations of the Twitter rules since there had been no direct threats.

“Dear God, take this vile creep who is killing the last, beautiful wild animals of the planet and calling it “sport”. Let @Brenter37 feel the fear and pain suffered by this bear. Rid us of trophy hunters and their disgusting, small penis egos. RID US OF IDIOTS LIKE TIM BRENT.”

Brent responded by calling out those against “hunters and conservationists.”

Read the latest animal news on the National Pet Rescue Facebook.


Trapped cougar freed! Watch the dramatic video below:


Hunters killing mother bear and her ‘shrieking’ newborn cubs caught on video

Just when you think hunting can’t get any crueler, a father and son have been accused of illegally slaughtering a mother black bear in her den and then shooting her two “shrieking” newborn cubs while they rested in their Alaska den. The bears had been living on Esther Island in Prince William Sound.

The charges announced earlier this week, accuses Andrew Renner, 41, and his son Owen Renner, 18, of felony misdemeanor charges relating to illegal hunting. It is illegal in Alaska to kill a mother bear with her cubs. The men are charged with unlawfully taking a female bear with cubs, unlawfully taking a bear cub and possessing and transporting illegally taken game. Andrew also faces charges for tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to Fox News, the entire sickening crime was caught on a motion activated video camera set up to monitor the den as part of a study being conducted by the United States Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Alaska State Trooper Colonel Steve Smith stated, “In this case numerous crimes, including felonies are believed to have been committed.”

The egregious act occurred on April 14, when the men had been out skiing and approached the bears’ den. The video shows the son firing into the den at the mother bear. When the two newborn cubs witnessed their mother dying, they “shrieked” in panic, and the elder Renner then shot the babies – throwing their lifeless bodies outside of the den. The men removed the adult bear’s tracking collar insisting it couldn’t be traced.

“It doesn’t matter. Bear down. They’ll never be able to link it to us,” Owen Renner could be heard in the video.

Just days later, the men returned to the den, picked up the gun casings and disposed of the baby bears’ bodies. Two weeks later, however, Renner brought the mother’s bear skin and tracking collar to authorities stating he didn’t realize until after he shot the mother bear, that she had cubs.

Rest in peace poor black bears. The cubs never had a chance to grow up and play.

(Photos and video of mother bear and her “shrieking” newborns via Time)

Check out the video. Renner also failed to reveal the number of bears they already killed prior to this slaughter: (video is not graphic)

Read more news on the National Pet Rescue page here.

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Emaciated bear freed from his cage to see sunlight for first time in years

An emaciated bear kept captive in a cage at an army general’s summer home in Echmiadzin, Armenia saw sunlight for the first time in many years. A video released by the International Animal Rescue shows the progression of events as rescuers from the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets helped to cut away the metal bars of its prison. Four other bears were rescued at the same time.

According to the video, the thick bars were removed on the exterior part of a small area where two brown bears had been lying down. Rescuers are then shown examining the bear before they take him out into the sunlight – the first time the bear had been outdoors in years. The bear was so malnourished he could barely move.

Once the bear was moved outside, a sheet was placed over his face to help his eyes adjust to the bright sunlight. The person videoing the rescue stated this was the second rescue. Just one day prior the volunteers saved a tiger who is now being cared for at a reputable zoo.

“Today we will rescue five bears, two will go to a zoo and three others will go to a rescue center which is supported by International Animal Rescue,” stated the organization as part of their campaign called “The Great Bear Rescue.”

The bear had been estimated to be six-years-old, but veterinarians later realized the bear was much older, and its growth had likely been stunted because of its diet and horrid living conditions. It is hoped all bears in Armenia can be rescued.

Check out the video. It’s worth watching.

(Photos, video and screenshots via International Animal Rescue)

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Scared bear in Russia circus forced to ride skateboard beaten by trainer

A scared bear forced to ride a skateboard in a Russian circus in the Vogograd region was beaten by his trainers when the animal became angry after being whipped to perform.

According to the video, the bear is pushed down a ramp on the skateboard, and when he reached the bottom, one handler jerked the bear’s chain that had been attached to his head ordering him to perform another trick. The bear appears scared and reels back as he tries to flee.

Moments later another handler began hitting the bear with a stick, while the person holding the chain tries to keep the bear in place. Seemingly to defend himself, the bear grabs the trainer who had been beating him with a stick and knocks her to the floor while a third person runs onto the stage and also joined in hitting the bear. When the panicky animal finally lets go, he cowers along the edge of the arena and rocks back and forth just as a defeated victim of abuse. None of the trainers seemed to have been hurt.

Frightened audience members were only a few feet away and began to scream. According to the Daily Mail, a local resident, Anastasia Mischerina, had been at the performance with her relatives and young child. The family sat in the front row, and when it was announced as a “bear-visionary” experience, the woman videoed the entire performance while standing near the exit.

“Even on video it is clear that the animal was nervous,” Anastasia stated. “Reluctantly slipping off the ramp, the animal wanted to leave, but he was pulled back. Perhaps he realized that another flogging was waiting for him, and he decided to attack first.”

Just one week ago, video footage of a bear blowing a vuvuzela (plastic horn) while being driven around in Moscow in a jeep after a Russia World Cup victory outraged fans, with many referring to the deed as both dangerous and inhumane.  People crowded close to the bear to take “selfies” after Russia defeated Saudi Arabia by 5-0. The bear is believed to be a circus bear named Tima. The bear is also shown making a gesture to the crowd resembling the “quenelle” which is associated with antisemitism. The sight of the bear riding in the car evoked rage on Twitter.

(Photos of scared bear  Volgograd Oblast Russia via YouTube and the Daily Mail)

Read more about bears in Russia being forced to perform here.

The video can be viewed at this link. WARNING: Contents are graphic and may not be suitable for all viewing audiences.

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Fans outraged as abused bear forced to blow a horn during Russia World Cup

Video footage of a bear blowing a vuvuzela (plastic horn) while being driven around in Moscow in a jeep after a Russia World Cup victory has outraged fans with many referring to the deed as both dangerous and inhumane.

According to the Daily Mail, the animal is thought to be the same bear forced to perform at a Russian football match earlier in the year. The bear was trained to hand the ball to a referee and then made to clap as the match started. He was muzzled while his handler forced him to stand on his hind legs. Planners had promised the bear would no longer be used as social outrage intensified.

And then again. In the latest video, people can be seen taking “selfies” with the bear after Russia defeated Saudi Arabia by 5-0. The bear is believed to be a circus bear named Tima. The bear is also shown making a gesture to the crowd resembling the “quenelle” which is associated with antisemitism.

The sight of the bear riding in the car evoked rage on Twitter:

“World is going backwards fast if folk find this entertaining.”

“Hope it mauls the cruel and senseless human beings.”

“Breaks my heart. How people can stand and laugh is beyond me. The amount of abuse that bear has lived through makes me feel sick.”

Ironically the bear is a symbol of Russia and it had been thought there would be some national pride as to how this animal should be treated.

Check out the video:

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Public outrage at treatment of bear cub video leads to investigation of Indiana refuge

After a disturbing video was posted to social media this week of a baby bear cub appearing frightened, struggling and distressed, the United States Department of Agriculture announced an investigation into the Wildlife in Need facility located in southern Indiana. The advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed the complaint against the sanctuary’s owner, Tim Stark.

According to Indiana Public Media, Stark is alleged in a formal complaint filed by PETA  of mishandling, taunting and provoking the 14-week-old bear cub for the “public’s apparent amusement.”

“The cub screamed in terror throughout the presentation,” Brittany Peet, Esq. stated in the letter addressed to the USDA/APHIS/AC. “At one point, he dangled her by the mouth from his hand. Lifting the cub by her mouth in this manner poses a grave risk of danger to her developing teeth and to the muscles in her skull and neck…”

The complaint continued with additional observations and concerns:

“Stark eventually pried the cub’s mouth off his hand and held her toward the audience. The cub screamed in terror and urinated on him, likely from the distress. Her ears were back, indicating fear and distress, and her eyes were rolled back to the whites, which is a well-known sign of distress in all mammals…”

USDA representative Pamela Manns stated PETA’s complaint will be included in the investigation. This isn’t the first time Stark, however has been cited for multiple non-compliance violation. In the past he has refused to allow inspectors onto his property.  In September 2015, Stark was cited with several violations including using riding crops on tiger cubs. He never denied using the crops, but stated he did not harm the tigers and only used them as an “extension of our arm.” During the investigation, Stark was ordered to “cease the use of physical abuse to handle animals” even though he still claims to use the riding crops on cubs.

In response to the adverse publicity and allegations of animal abuse and cruelty, Stark posted on the organization’s Facebook page blaming the adverse criticism  on “mob mentality” and an extremist group editing ten seconds of natural bear behavior. According to their website, Stark describes his organization as “dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of native species as well as the provision of safe harbor to an array of Ambassadors from exotic and endangered species.”

Decide for yourself. Video below has not changed or edited Stark’s interaction with the baby bear during one of his shows:

Photos and YouTube video via Facebook and PETA video)

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Heart-wrenching view of bear ‘Hai Chan’ missing front paws suffering in bile extraction cage

Bear bile extraction farming has been used in traditional Asian medicine for thousands of years. Known to treat liver and gall bladder conditions because the bear’s bile contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid, in modern times both herbal and synthetic alternatives provide the same medicinal properties. Tragically, modern science has had no beneficial effects for female moon bear “Hai Chan.” For the last ten years, she has barely existed in the tiny, rusty cage barely bigger than her body. She lacks even the most basic care.

Hai Chan is believed to be one of more than 12,000 bears  kept on bear bile farms in China and Vietnam.  Still legal in China but outlawed in Vietnam, unfortunately legal loopholes still exist for the 1,300 bears kept as prisoners. In these cages where the bears are starved allegedly for better bile production, the excruciating painful extraction methods range  from “free drip” where the bears endures holes in their gall bladder to permanent catheters rarely cleaned and too often causing life-threatening infections.

According to Four Paws International, a non-profit organization based in Vienna, Austria, who provide for animals globally, Hai Chan’s front paws were removed years ago; the meat from her paws used in the so-called “bear paw wine” production.

“Like many other bears, Hai Chan lives mutilated in her tiny, rusty cage, lacking even the most basic care. It seems that she has even given up on her life already. We can’t say how much longer Hai Chan will survive, but we have joined forces with local partners Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) and World Animal Protection to form a coalition to expedite an end to cruel bear farming and hopefully help bears, like Hai Chan soon,” states the organization on their Facebook page.

Four Paws International is currently in the process of building a sanctuary large enough to accommodate the rescue of bears in horrific situations just like Hai Chan:

“Hai Chan’s home is a rusty cage which is not much bigger than her own body. The impression of her desperately lying in her cage broke our hearts when we first met her and it still does. We are currently constructing a new state-of-the-art sanctuary for up to 100 former bile bears in Vietnam and hope to begin rescuing the most desperate bears like Hai Chan this summer.”

Sign the petition to help end bear farming in Vietnam.

(Photos via Four Paws International)

Watch Hai Chan’s video here and help to end this brutal practice:



Heartbreaking: Baby bear clings to his mother after she was electrocuted by poachers

A baby sloth bear desperately tried to cling to his dying mother after she was electrocuted by poachers at the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. The ten-week-old cub was found crying and trying to nurse from his dying mother when rescuers from Wildlife SOS arrived.Baby bear clings to dead mother

According to the Facebook page for the organization, the baby was taken back to the facility’s base in Agra where he now joins 200 other sloth bears rescued from a variety of venues that had been forced to perform amid rampant neglect and cruelty. According to the Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, Alan Knight,  the organization who is a major supporter of Wildlife SOS, the bear cub is in need of intensive treatment and care after suffering the terrible trauma. It is not known how the baby survived holding onto his mother, while she was being electrocuted by a high voltage wire that had been rigged up next to a tiger preserve.

Sloth bears are protected because their species have been threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Tragically their claws and organs are highly prized in the practice of Oriental medicine. Investigators, with the help of tracker dogs, were able to find the equipment from the poachers responsible for killing the mother bear. Six men have been arrested and are now awaiting trial.

As for the cub, he is currently receiving medical and emotional care at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility.

(Photos and video courtesy of Wildlife SOS)

To donate and help more defenseless animals, please click here.

Check out the baby sloth bear’s video:



Video of starving sun bears in zoo sparks outrage

Undernourished and starving sun bears in an Indonesian zoo – appearing to be so hungry that they beg visitors for food and eating their own feces have been recorded on videos enraging animal rights activists.Starving bears

In video footage, recorded by the advocacy group, Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, several gaunt bears at the zoo located in the Indonesian city of Bandung, have stirred tremendous outrage throughout social media. Notably bears do not beg for food; one of the videos shows a heartbreaking scene of an obviously starving bear rushing over as visitors throw bits of fruit down to the animal. One of the bears was so desperate for food, he is seen on video defecating and then eating his own feces.

Reviews  from tourists of the zoo from Trip Advisor reflect the seriousness of the situation:

“Rusty cages, dirty place and really neglected animals. Some of them are very thin. Hell on earth for all these poor animals,” one of the comments stated.Starving bears 2

Another review stated,”Please do not give your money to this facility. The animals are dying of neglect. They are fed only on food donations, and when there are no donations they starve. The bears are surviving by eating their feces. A giraffe died there by ingesting plastic because it was so hungry. There is no veterinarian on staff and animals who become…”

Sun bears originate from forests in Southeast Asia and are currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Volunteers from other advocacy groups state the bears are only a fraction of what their healthy weight should be. Access to examine the bears physically has been denied by zoo officials. According to the Daily Mail Australia, the director of Scorpion, Ganung Gea, stated:

“When my team visited the zoo last week there was no grass or live trees on the floor of their cage. We saw a sun bear eating its own dung, but when we contacted the zoo’s officers, they told us the bear was medicated and we weren’t allowed to see it.”

Bandung is Indonesia’s third largest city with a population of over 2.4 million. It’s also one of the country’s top tourist hotspots.

Petition available by clicking here.
(Photos of starving sun bears courtesy of Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group.)
Warning: Videos are graphic and some audiences may find them too disturbing to watch.