Free the Bears
Laos and Cambodia
Malayan sun bear and moon bear
The aim of the Free the Bears fund is to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of bears throughout the world.
Annual donations to help develop the rescue centres and support their work with the bears.
Free the Bears has been working in Laos since 2003. Since then, more than 120 bears have been confiscated or have been donated. As a result of strengthened law enforcement efforts, almost 80 bears have been rescued since work started on construction of the new sanctuary in 2017 now encompassing seven new Bear Houses plus 13 adjoining forest enclosures with a total of almost 50,000m2, including newly-developed pre-release enclosures to begin the process of trialling the processes required to successfully rehabilitate rescued bears in order to return them to the wild.
Development of Laos’ first fully-equipped veterinary hospital dedicated to wildlife commenced in 2018, with 200 general health checks on bears across Free the Bear’s sites in the past 15 months. Our funding will be used to purchase an ultra-low (-86 degrees) deep freezer unit to allow for long-term storage of samples to facilitate either bulk export or transfer to other labs within Laos for analysis. In the short-term this will permit research studies into areas such as female sun bear reproductive hormones while longer-term this will support storage of samples for DNA extraction which would greatly enhance capacity for screening rescued wildlife for a whole host of zoonotic diseases.
Since 2019, Free the Bears has been training the country’s first dedicated wildlife veterinarian who, with support from international veterinary specialists, has graduated to the level whereby he is able to conduct general health examinations independently and has already been called upon by the government to assist with monitoring of tiger farms. With funding, FTB plan to recruit a second veterinary graduate to continue this work and ensure they have more specialist wildlife vets being trained within Laos. Having a second Lao veterinarian will ensure the long-term sustainability of the Veterinary Care Programme should circumstances ever arise again in which it is not possible to have international veterinary support. £2,500 will cover 50% of the cost of employing a dedicated Lao veterinarian. This will move beyond simply provision of healthcare for the animals in the sanctuaries but also expand to conduct essential research work that will support conservation efforts in all areas from wildlife crime prosecutions to reinforcing wildlife populations and preventing zoonotic disease.
- A.E.E.C.L The Lemur Conservation Association
- EAZA Elephant TAG (EEHV) Fund
- Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP)
- Fisher’s Estuarine Moth
- GhostFishing UK
- Galapagos Conservation Trust
- Komodo Survival Programme
- LWIRO Primate Rehabilitation Centre
- Orangutan Foundation
- Red Panda Network
- Save the Rhino International