Rescue of 101 Bears from Abusive Bile Farm Industry Inspires Short Film 'Moon Bear Homecoming'

Animals Asia, with the help of an ex-bile farm, successfully moved 101 former bile bears to an award-winning sanctuary in China this spring

moon bear homecoming poster
Photo: AnimalsAsia

It's a story that began in 2013 and is finally getting its happy ending.

According to a release from Animals Asia, the animal welfare organization organized the rescue of 101 moon bears from an ex-bile farm in China earlier this year and successfully moved from the animals to an award-winning sanctuary in Chengdu.

The bears traveled over 775 miles to their sanctuary home, making the mission "the largest operation of its kind ever undertaken by any animal welfare organization," reports Animals Asia.

Understanding the magnitude and importance of this effort, Animals Asia filmed the bears' trek from the ex-bile farm to the sanctuary and has transformed the footage into a short film called Moon Bear Homecoming.

Moon Bear Homecoming details the resources and heart that went into transporting all 101 bears from the Nanning farm to the Chengdu Bear Rescue Centre. The monumental task started on April 19 and concluded on May 27 and involved nine trucks carrying the bears in three phases. The short film that brings this journey to life is narrated by actor and animal advocate James Cromwell and is available to watch on-demand on Animals Asia's website and Youtube channel.

"When I was asked if I would narrate the epic journey of 101 Asiatic black bears moving halfway across China from a former bile farm to an award-winning sanctuary, I jumped at the chance. These are not small bears. These are huge wild animals," Cromwell said in a statement.

"A lot of them have chronic health conditions caused by their years on bile farms and need constant medication to deal with things like hypertension, and the team was with them every mile of the way. I hope that everybody watches this remarkable film and joins me in helping to share their story as far and wide as possible," he added.

Animals Asia rescued the bears and made Moon Bear Homecoming because of the ex-bile farm's owner. In 2013, the farm received a new owner who was uninterested in continuing the cruel practice of extracting bile from live moon bears. This individual agreed to surrender the bears to Animals Asia.

Unfortunately, legislative and proprietorship issues, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and bear health issues pushed the animals' move to the sanctuary until this spring.

The wait was well worth it for Animals Asia, which has now helped all 101 bears enjoy the splendors of a free life. For many of the rescued moon bears, their release into the sanctuary marked the first time they felt grass under their paws.

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