The 187th sun bear cub rescued since Free the Bears started collaborating with the Cambodian Forestry Administration in 1997, was handed over to Free the Bears on Monday 20th July. The cub had been captured by ethnic minority hunters in Mondulkiri province and sold to a provincial official who feared that she might be sold into the restaurant trade if he did not purchase her. Driving 400km from his village, the Deputy Governor of Mondulkiri Province delivered the little bundle to safety at the sanctuary. Sadly this happens all too often in Cambodia, and although Free the Bears are glad to now have the cub, it would have been much better if the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team had been called to seize the cub – thereby providing a deterrent to anyone thinking about hunting bears in Mondulkiri.

At the time of rescue, the 2 month old female weighed just 3.7kg. She has since doubled her weight, and now that she is ‘out of the woods’ she has been given her lifelong name of Soriya – meaning ‘sun’ in Cambodian, and a surname of Sundance. Soriya Sundance will continue to receive around-the-clock care for several more months in the Free the Bears’ Cub Nursery.


There are currently 133 rescued bears living at the Cambodian sanctuary, and almost 900 bears have been rescued throughout Asia since the Free the Bears’ campaign first started. Some of the Cambodian sanctuary groups (such as Oscars group of seven youngsters aged 4-5 years old) will soon be moved to their brand new facility, supported by Colcehster Zoo’s Action for the Wild in 2014 as part of their Year of the Bear campaign. This new location will offer the energetic youngsters more space to run, play and explore. Moving all the bears will be a huge task, involving the Bear Care Teams to transport the bears across the sanctuary and settle them into their new home, vet teams to carry out health checks and volunteers frantically weaving giant comfy hammocks for each of the 18 night dens that the new house contains. The bears will be given a few days to settle into their new home before they are allowed outside to explore their semi-wild forest enclosures – for little groups such as Jacko, Scout, Pepper, Maggie and Hope, this new home will offer them ten times more space than they currently have, with each area packed with climbing towers, swimming pools, caves and a host of other enrichment toys to keep them busy.

Free the Bears’ rescue work also continues, with another bear rescued in Laos at the end of August, exactly one month after Soriya’s arrival. Support is needed to continue to provide for the tiniest victims of the illegal wildlife trade by donating or buying a Cub Care Kit from Free the Bears Virtual Gift Range. Click here to make your purchase and help to save a little life.

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