By Jasmine Kazlauskas
Five adorable bear cubs set to be slaughtered for MEAT have been given a second chance at life after a heroic rescue.
Australian animal organisation ‘Free the Bears’, which have bear rescue sanctuaries in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, made history last week after freeing five abused moon bear cubs in one day – the highest number of bears ever rescued in a single day by the foundation.
The rescuers freed two cubs, aged three months, from a bamboo paper factory, before saving two more seven-month-old cubs from a cassava plantation and a nine-month-old cub from a private property in raids across regional Laos last Monday [Aug 19].
Free the Bears said the cubs would most likely have been killed for meat as they are perceived as a ‘delicacy’ in some areas of Asia or caged and ‘milked’ of their bile, which is used in traditional medicine, at a ‘bear bile’ farm.
Thankfully, after the successful rescue all of the bear cubs are now being expertly cared for at the Free the Bears Luang Prabang Sanctuary in Laos.
Charity founder Mary Hutton, 81, from Perth, Western Australia, said: “When we sent the team up there, we found the two little babies.
“Two were being kept in a factory and were in very poor health, as they were only being fed on rice and were malnourished.
“Then while we were there, we were told of another three bears which we rescued. Sometimes I think my god, what would have happened if we were not there.”
Mary founded Free the Bears in 1993 and still runs the daily operations of the organisation with staff and volunteer from her home in Perth.
She added: “This rescue is very satisfying and it’s another triumph for the bear species.”