By Mikey Jones
Two baby bears weighing less than TWO POUNDS each have been rescued after being stolen from their mother by wildlife smugglers.
International animal charity, Four Paws, rescued the bears at just a few weeks old and have cared for the pair at their sanctuary in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.
The two female Asiatic black bears were confiscated on January 9 by Vietnamese police after being found on an illegal wildlife farm in Hai Phong.
The bear cubs, who weighed just 1lb 9oz each, fell victim to smugglers who were likely to subject the pair to a life of torture on a bear farm.
Since arriving at Four Paws, the bears have receive intensive veterinary care – including being fed every three hours – and are now doing well.
Adorable photos shows the orphaned creatures cuddling up to each other while getting veterinary help.
Brian da Cal, Four Paws UK Director, said: “”The bears are still very young, and the situation is critical, but we will do everything we can for their survival.
“The bear cubs were dehydrated when we took them over.
“Our team of veterinarians currently provides them with milk added with vitamins and probiotics.
Although the bears only weigh 1lb 9oz [900 grams] both are quite strong and drink enough of the milk.
“The trauma of being separated can have a major impact on the animals both emotionally and physically, and the effects can carry on well into their lives. Having said that, the bear cubs have a good chance of survival now they are in our care.
“It’s thought they were either acquired from a bear farm within Vietnam or trafficked there from Laos.
“The local police force is in charge and will be starting the legal process to bring the case to court.
“Our team is working round the clock to care for the cubs including feeding every three hours.
“They use a specific puppy milk replacer which is as close to bear milk as we can get, and the quantity is calculated according to their body weight and updated daily.
“Currently they live in a soft, towel-lined, heated box in our on-site vet clinic and are cared for by two caretakers only.
“At this age they would be in a den with their mother, so it is kept warm and quiet and dark to replicate that as closely as possible.”
Four Paws are now sharing their story to raise awareness for the welfare of bears and their suitable environments.
Brian da Cal added: “Bears are wild animals with very specific needs whose psychological and physical needs are impossible to meet in a domestic environment
“They are in no way suitable pets and keeping them as such amounts to animal cruelty. What’s more, as with any wild animal, cute bear cubs will inevitably grow into large adults which are unpredictable and can be dangerous.”
The illegal trade of bear cubs was stopped just in time thanks to the cooperation of the Vietnamese police and authorities, the local NGO ENV (Education for Nature-Vietnam), Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand and Four Paws.
The bears then spent one night at a hotel and were transferred to the Four Paws bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh on January 10 2019.