Bears at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

Timeline of Our Activities and Achievements

Our mission for bile bears in Vietnam


Although the sale and the possession of bear bile have been banned by law since 2005, today still many bears – mainly Asiatic black bears – are kept on bear farms in Vietnam. Many are illegally abused for the extraction of bear bile.  

In the framework of the #SaddestBears campaign, FOUR PAWS has set itself the task of ending the torment of bile bears in Vietnam.

what four paws has achieved so far:

Bear Soi in his old home

October 2022

Bear Soi was rescued by FOUR PAWS on 27th of October, after his owner agreed to hand him over. After spending his life in a tiny cage, not much bigger than a car, unable to live a species-appropriate life, a new life was waiting for him at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh with many new surprises. Not only will bear Soi experience positive surprises at his new forever home, but also the team was surprised when the vet check revealed that Soi was much younger than 17 years, not like his owner stated.

Bear Tu Do before her rescue

December 2021

Bear Tu Do, whose name means freedom in Vietnamese, was the last bile bear in Son La province. He is now the 40th resident at our sanctuary and the 50th bear rescued by FOUR PAWS in Vietnam.

Bear Mo at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh in Vietnam

October 2021

With your help, we reached 100k signatures on our Hanoi petition already! For years we’ve been trying to change the horrible situation for bears farmed in Vietnam – and now we're focused on Hanoi. In collaboration with our partners in the Bear Coalition in Vietnam, Education for Nature - Vietnam and World Animal Protection, please continue to support our efforts to make a species-appropriate life for all captive bears, like Mo in this picture, possible.

June 2021

FOUR PAWS changes the focus of the international campaign #SaveTheSaddestBears to end bear farming in Vietnam and launches a new petition aimed at hotspot Hanoi. Since FOUR PAWS started the campaign in 2017, over 1.2 million people signed the petition and 49 bears were rescued and brought to BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. But while significant progress was made across the country, Hanoi remains the country’s #1 bear bile farming hotspot, with 161 bears trapped on 31 farms, accounting for 46% of the total bile bears in Vietnam! Hanoi is the country’s capital, and therefore should be setting an example for other provinces to follow, not creating an embarrassment for Vietnam on the global stage.

Bear Cam is his tiny cage

April 2021

Rescue Cam: Poor bile bear Cam was trapped in a tiny, metal cage on a bear farm in Hai Phong province, Vietnam.

Bears Xuan and Mo in a basement

March 2021

Rescue Xuan and Mo: Kept in a basement, bile bears Xuan and Mo were rescued from a life in darkness.


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November 2020

For the seven Asiatic black bears, who only knew life behind metal bars on two farms for almost 20 years – their new lives have just begun after our biggest bear rescue in 2020! 

Asiatic black bear Thu at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

October 2020

Rescue Thu: With 15 years of suffering behind her, the Asiatic black bear begins her new life. 

July 2020

Breaking News: Vietnam’s Prime Minister issues directive to ban all wildlife trade in reaction to COVID-19! Vietnam has banned the import of wild animals and their parts and banned the sale of wild animals and their parts within the country. As one of the biggest consumers of wild animals, this is a major step in not only stopping the next pandemic but also protecting wild animals from being poached from the wild or cruelly bred on farms to meet demands for human consumption.
Moreover, in an unprecedented step, Vietnam
 has vowed to act against the online sale of wild animals, which is an increasing trend in the region.
FOUR PAWS hopes that this decision is followed by effective enforcement and we will see Vietnam leading the fight against illegal wildlife trade and protecting wild animals from poaching and cruel captive breeding. We hope this example will provide the impetus for other countries to also act and protect wild animals and stop the next pandemic


Biggest FOUR PAWS mission in Vietnam

September 2019

Biggest FOUR PAWS mission in Vietnam: Seven bile bears rescued from cruel captivity.

May 2019

Bear cubs Mi and Tam are released into their outdoor enclosure!

March 2019

In the biggest FOUR PAWS rescue operation to date, we saved five bile bears Keo, Lim, San, Dieu and Khoai Lang.

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March 2019

FOUR PAWS opens BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh to the public.

January 2019

Bear cubs Mi and Tam are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and taken into our care. 

Black bears Trang and Long

November 2018

FOUR PAWS rescues two Asiatic black bears Trang and Long.

August 2018

FOUR PAWS saves another pair of abused bears who had been locked up for over 12 years: Hoa Lan and Hoa Tra.

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April 2018

FOUR PAWS rescues May and Binh Yen from captivity in cruel conditions. There are now NO MORE bear farms in the Ninh Binh Province.  

January 2018

FOUR PAWS rescues former bile bear Misa.


November 2017

FOUR PAWS rescues its first bears in Vietnam. Nhi Nho, Thai Van and Thai Giang move to BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh and become the sanctuary's first residents.

November 2017

According to official figures, approximately 800 bears still live on 250 farms in Vietnam. 

#SaddestBears in Vietnam

Spring 2017 

FOUR PAWS launches the international campaign 
#savethesaddestbears: END BEAR FARMING in Vietnam!

Construction begins on BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

December 2016

Construction begins on BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.


Spring 2015

FOUR PAWS begins cooperation with the state wildlife rescue centre, the 'Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre', and funds an outdoor enclosure in order to improve the living conditions of the former bile bears. 


FOUR PAWS investigates Vietnamese bile bear farms for the first time.



The Vietnamese government bans the sale and possession of bear bile and the new admission of bears to farms. All bears kept on farms are registered and micro- chipped. At this point, approximately 4,300 bears live on Vietnamese bear bile farms.