After an overwhelming adventure, Wonder is ready for a bit of rest and relaxation.
According to animal welfare charity AnimalsAsia, police in Dien Bien, Vietnam, confiscated a moon bear cub from a motorcycle driver on Sept 13. Officers knew an illegal wildlife trader was crossing into Vietnam from Laos with the cub, thanks to a tip from Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV). ENV told AnimalsAsia that the cub was initially advertised for sale on Facebook. If the police didn't stop the trader, AnimalsAsia believes the cub could've been sold into bear bile farming or the exotic pet trade.
Luckily, the Dien Bien police rescued the bear — who they found riding on the bike in a cramped, metal cage — and contacted AnimalsAsia for help finding a permanent home for the cub. AnimalsAsia agreed to care for the cub at their sanctuary in Tam Dao but needed assistance transporting the bear over 300 miles from Dien Bien to the sanctuary.
The Dien Bien police sponsored the cub's trip from the city to the sanctuary, helping AnimalsAsia navigate Vietnam's COVID travel protocols to ensure the animal and the charity's rescuers arrived safely. AnimalsAsia shared that before they took in the cub, the Dien Bien police provided them with a video of the 60-pound bear, who they suspect was stolen from its mother in the wild. Watching the clip, AnimalsAsia noticed that the bear had a white "W" on its chest and decided to nickname the cub Wonder.
After their rescue from the motorcycle on Monday, Wonder went to stay with the Dien Bien police while AnimalsAsia's rescuers got COVID tests and started their trip from the sanctuary to pick up the animal. AnimalsAsia sent the officers their "bear cub care guide" so the police knew how to look after the baby bear safely.
AnimalsAsia's rescuers arrived at Dien Bien on Thursday. They immediately started building a relationship of trust with Wonder, speaking to the cub in low, gentle voices and feeding the bear honey and treats (watermelon is a favorite) on a long spoon. Once Wonder was comfortable with AnimalsAsia's rescuers, the cub was moved into a transport cage and loaded carefully onto the animal welfare charity's vehicle.
On Friday, Wonder arrived at their new home, AnimalsAsia's Tam Dao sanctuary. Wonder has to complete a few more steps before they join the sanctuary's general population. Next up are health checks, where veterinarians will assess if the cub needs any treatment and/or medication and where Wonder's sex will be determined. After Wonder is medically cleared, the bear cub will spend 45 days in quarantine adjusting to their new environment, so they are prepared and happy to embrace the sanctuary's space, freedom, and nature.
Once Wonder completes quarantine and is comfortable with their caretakers and new surroundings, they will move into the sanctuary to enjoy a life of making friends, foraging for snacks, relaxing outside, and receiving large daily doses of TLC.
To learn more about Wonder, and AnimalsAsia's effort to save more bears like them, visit the charity's website.