Polly Bear – an Update!
Polly enjoys a snack in his quarantine pen
We are delighted to announce that the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation’s rescued Moonbear Polly is progressing very well in his new home at the Tam Dao Sanctuary in Vietnam.
The Foundation funded the rescue of Polly, one of 12 bears discovered in cramped 40ft cargo containers on an illegal bile farm in the southern province of Binh Duong, near Ho Chi Minh City. We told the story of Polly’s rescue – a gruelling, three-day road-trip to safety – and arrival at Tam Dao in the last issue of our newsletter. You can read the full story here
Polly spent several weeks in a quarantine pen at the centre – standard practise to prevent the possible spread of disease to the other resident bears. Even this pen – above – was spacious compared to his previous quarters, and Polly enjoyed his new healthy diet. Tuan the director of the Vietnamese sanctuary has since provided us with more information about Polly and the other rescued bears. He estimated they were last milked for bile about a month prior to the rescue. He believes that all the bears were wild caught – Polly probably lost his missing front paw in a snare – and that all of the bears arrived at the farm either as cubs or juveniles. Polly settled well at the rescue centre, although he did display some ‘stereotypical’ behaviour – repetitive movements such as headswaying or pacing – typical of bears (and other animals) who have spent many years in captivity,.
He recently provided us with some excellent news – Polly has been integrated with a companion, another male bear named John, who is blind and also missing a front paw. He told us
“John and Polly were integrated on November 18 after they had lived next to each other in dens in the Quarantine Area for a few months. They had positive interactions through the door slides but were quite stereotypic, especially in the afternoons. When the door slide was first opened, Polly and John met straight away and embraced in a big bear hug. A long bout of wrestling followed with both bears equally strong (although John is a bit smaller). They had quiet moments, eating browse or other enrichment but wrestling seems to be their favourite past time for now. The first feed together went fine although leading up to the feed there was a small growl between the two as they both started head swaying at the slide and John must have gotten startled, not seeing his new den mate.”
“Polly eats a bit faster and will try to eat some of John’s food but this has not caused any problems and it’s only a very small amount so far. Both bears seem more relaxed and their stereotyping has reduced a lot since they have been integrated.”
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to give this bear a chance to enjoy the rest of his life in the beautiful surroundings of the Animals Asia sanctuary. Special thanks to the people who have Befriended Polly, and those who have made donations, including WHAC for organising an evening with Pollyanna, which raised a wonderful £400.00. With your help we have been able to send a cheque for £1100.00 to pay for Polly’s care throughout the coming year. We are continuing to fundraise in order to keep supporting Polly in his new home.
We are offering Foundation supporters the chance to Become a Friend of Polly Bear, and help pay for his ongoing care, including food, medical care and just as importantly his ongoing enrichment programme, which will provide Polly with special treats to keep him happy and occupied – treats like fruit ice blocks, rubber kongs, honey, raisins and tofu-filled bamboo shoots – all of which will keep him stimulated and occupied for hours!
For a minimum donation of £35.00 you can befriend Polly Bear for one year. As a thankyou you will receive a personalised friendship certificate including a photo of Polly and twice yearly updates on his progress, along with a bookmark and a set of four greetings cards featuring different bears of the world painted by Pollyanna. Most excitingly everyone who befriends Polly bear will be entered into a prize draw to win a signed limited edition of Pollyanna’s sketch of a moonbear (above). This print is strictly limited to just 100 copies. Every time just ten friendship packages have been bought, one lucky winner will be drawn, and will receive their picture.
The prints are also be available to purchase through our online studio at £95.00 (post and packaging free). £50.00 from the sale of each picture will be donated to Polly bear’s annual care.
Click here to purchase securely
We would also urge you to write to the Chinese government to stop other bears suffering the same cruel treatment. Click here to download a sample letter