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Caged Asian black bears revived from critical condition by Vietnamese safari

Monday, September 21, 2020, 14:59 GMT+7
Caged Asian black bears revived from critical condition by Vietnamese safari
Two malnourished Asian black bears are seen upon their arrival at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc in this supplied photo.

Vinpearl Safari, a subsidiary of Vietnam's biggest conglomerate Vingroup, has rescued and rehabilitated 26 Asian black bears in a critical condition after being forgotten in cages and neglected by their previous caretakers.

Upon arriving at Vinpearl Safari on Phu Quoc -- the country’s biggest island -- from Hon Me Animal rescue center in Kien Giang Province, the group of 26 Asian black bears were in bad health after having lived in terrible conditions for so long.

“The bears, which should look burly and majestic, were left malnourished," a representative of the safari recalled.

"Their health was deteriorating while many had gone ‘insane,’ causing behavioral problems.”  

The bears continued to exhibit irregular behavior, including panic episodes, clinging to walls and rubbing their heads against metal wire until they bled.

Considering the dire situation, the animal experts at the safari set their priority on resuscitating the distressed bears physically and emotionally, as well as restoring their natural instinct and presence of mind. 

A snapshot of Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc is seen in this supplied photo.

A snapshot of Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc is seen in this supplied photo.

For this reason, Vinpearl Safari has put a heavy emphasis on the living quality for the animals.

The facility is segregated with an exclusive location with plenty of trees and shrubberies that cater to the Asian black bears’ natural instinct to climb and roam in groups. 

“The bodies of water and waterfalls are also constructed for the bears to enjoy,” the representative added.

Staff members of the safari have been tasked with tending to the bears on a 24/7 basis over the last two months.

They were instructed to keep a certain distance from the bears, yet remain vigilant so they could promptly respond to self-harm and other irregular, violent behaviors. 

A rescued Asian black bear is revitalized in this photo.

A rescued Asian black bear is revitalized in this photo.

Through a slow and steady process, the caretakers have successfully assimilated the bears into the safari, and they now explore freely on their own.

The special treatment that the bears received also included a special diet, which was tailored to each individual’s health and appetite.

Food for the bears was sourced from Vinpearl’s in-house farm of five hectares, as well as imported products that satisfy the stringent standards of the world’s top-tier animal sanctuaries. 

Another challenge for the safari staff was to restore the bears’ natural instincts.

They had to walk a fine line between providing the necessary care to rehabilitate the bears while not pampering them into losing what they learn in the wild.

Animal pundits used tiny steps to rebuild their instinctual capacity, which includes eating and other daily behavioral functions.  

Two Asian black bears are shown in their new habitat in this photo taken at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

Two Asian black bears are shown in their new habitat in this photo taken at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

The bears are supplied with a coconut per day, but they also need to put in the work.

Vinpearl staffers only dent a small crack in the coconuts instead of breaking them open, then leave the bears to figure out how to eat by themselves.

Honey is also left in high-hanging branches to simulate natural settings, incentivizing the bears to reuse their innate skills. 

After three years, the Asian black bears, once shrunken and depleted of life, have transformed into healthy, thick individuals with glowing skin and luminous hair.

During this time, the safari staffers have also learned the characteristics of each bear and developed strong bonds with them. 

This image shows a primate at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

This image shows a primate at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

A semi-wild safari 

The Asian black bear mission is not the first of its kind at Vinpearl Safari; the institution has also received many other commissions to save animals, namely rosy pelicans, bald-headed water birds, sun bears, yellow-cheeked gibbons, pileated gibbons, Germain’s langurs, and great hornbills, in other emergency cases. 

According to Luu Chi Hieu, director of Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc, the rescue and natural instinct restoration of animals are a serious business, which is currently undertaken by veteran experts on their team. 

An employee of Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc interacts with some of the primates.

An employee of Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc interacts with some of the primates.

According to Hieu, Vinpearl Safari is the first zoo in Vietnam to receive Welfare Certification on animal welfare conditions by the Southeast Asian Zoo Association (SEAZA) and membership at The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

The institution has consistently shown its commitment to bringing the best living conditions for the thousands of animals in their facility, tending to and protecting wild animals in the most natural environment possible.

Critters are seen in this photo taken at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

Critters are seen in this photo taken at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

Within the first six months of 2020, 216 individuals of more than 30 species – many of which are endangered, namely Indian hog deer, Arabian oryx, Scimitar oryx, white rhinoceros and Bengal tiger – have given birth at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

At River Safari – a Vinpearl Safari branch in Hoi An City of Quang Nam Province – Vietnam’s first instance of black-necked swan giving birth has been recorded, alongside rare instances of white lion, Sika deer and white tiger offspring.

Alongside the hundreds of rescued animals, various instances of offspring born at the facility stand as a testament to the tremendous efforts of Vinpearl Safari in animal rehabilitation. 

A bevy of black-necked swans is pictured in this photo taken at River Safari Nam Hoi An.

A bevy of black-necked swans is pictured in this photo taken at River Safari Nam Hoi An.

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