Vital construction work is well underway at Free the Bears’ Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary in Laos, thanks to the support from AJN Steelstock.
Free the Bears is a not-for-profit charity that helps rescue and rehabilitate Moon Bears and Sun Bears that have been illegally poached from the wild and held in captivity or milked for their bile which is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine. With wildlife sanctuaries in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Free the Bears has rescued hundreds of bears from a life of misery and aims to raise awareness of the cruel conditions of bear bile farms and raise funds to aid their rescue and rehabilitation.
With a record 17 bears rescued in Laos in 2019 and six in 2020 (more than 90 bears have been rescued in Laos to date) AJN’s donation is enabling Free the Bears to help meet the demand for safe sanctuary with the construction of ‘Bear House 6’.
Due for completion in the next few weeks, Bear House 6 – a safe and secure 5,000 square metre area set into a thickly forested hillside – will be home to around 12 bears, including brothers ‘Thong’ and ‘Neung’, who were rescued from a timber yard and featured in the BBC series ‘Bears About the House’.
Matt Hunt, CEO of Free the Bears, comments, “One of the main objectives of Free the Bears is to tackle the illegal wildlife trade and bring an end to bear bile farming in Laos. Over the past few years we’ve seen a marked influx of rescued cubs and new enclosures at the sanctuary are desperately needed to give the bears the quality of life they rightly deserve.
“We’re incredibly grateful for the generous support that AJN Steelstock has given. New enclosures like Bear House 6 gives us the opportunity to rehabilitate more rescued bears and enables our government partners to close more bear bile farms.”
Alan Boyden, Joint Managing Director at AJN Steelstock adds, “Having seen the hideous bear bile farms and the illegal trade of cubs exposed on the ‘Bears About the House’ documentary, we were only too pleased to offer support to Free the Bears.
“It’s encouraging to know that new enclosures we’re helping to build will make it a little easier for Free the Bears to garner the support of the local government and shut down these awful farms. One of the biggest challenges, however, is continuing to raise awareness and encouraging as many people as possible to donate – any amount – and help bring an end to the illegal wildlife trade in Laos.”
In addition to two outdoor enclosures complete with caves, pools and climbing towers, which offer the bears a natural and safe environment to thrive, Bear House 6 will also feature a number of purpose-built dens containing hammocks for sleeping in, denning boxes, platforms to relax on and automated water drinkers.
For more information about the charity or to make a donation visit: www.freethebears.org