In 2017, Action for the Wild donated £5,000 to help build a brand quarantine facility for a new bear sanctuary in Laos

Free the Bears has been working with the Luang Prabang Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO) to provide a safe sanctuary for bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in Laos since 2003.

Over the past 15 years, over 50 Moon bears and Sun bears have been confiscated from poachers and wildlife traders, or have been donated by people who had previously kept them as trophy pets. In 2017 alone, 10 bears were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, whilst efforts to end the practise of bear bile farming in Laos continue to move ahead

At the end of 2016, 25 hectares (60 acres) of land was purchased, which will eventually house up to 150 rescued bears, as well as allowing for the short-term housing of other selected species that are commonly seized from illegal wildlife traders.

During 2017, Free the Bears achieved a number of significant milestones all aimed at advancing the development of the Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary (LPWS).  A new bear house and 2,000m2 enclosure was completed in September 2017 to re-home 7 Moon bears from the overcrowded Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre. Unfortunately, the arrival of a further 10 rescued bears in Laos during 2017 means that efforts need to be redoubled to increase the holding facilities for bears at the new sanctuary to reduce pressure on the old centre, thus a new cub hand rearing / nursery area is also under construction to care for the rescued cubs.

Action for the Wild helped cover 50% of the costs of construction of Phase 1 of a brand new quarantine facility for the new sanctuary.  The team have built the foundations, frame and roof of the quarantine facility, a relatively simple but highly effective structure designed initially to be equipped to be able to house the bears rescued from the first closure of a bear bile farm in Laos. The addition of these facilities continue to expand Free the Bears’ ability to assist the Lao Government in protecting bears and other animals threatened by the illegal wildlife trade. This first stage of the quarantine facility has been completed in preparation for the arrival of around 20 bears from the first bile farm closure in Laos, hopefully in early 2018.

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