Caesar is one of the lucky ones that was rescued back in 2004.
Caesar, a brown bear that lives at Animals Asia’s Chengdu sanctuary, wasn’t always as happy and full of life as she is today when she frolics around the grounds and takes dips in the pond. Though it’s been a dozen years since she was rescued from a horrible fate in China, her rescuers remember the details of her plight and how sickly she was when they took her in.
The brown bear was rescued from a bile farm in China, where she was subjected to wearing a torture vest for years that would hold a metal cylinder and latex catheter against her body while it siphoned bile from her gallbladder. While she endured this excruciating pain daily, she was also kept in a small cage where she could barely move, leaving her anxious and frustrated.
“I remember only too well her rescue some four years ago when she bounced violently in her rusting cage on the bear farm in Tianjin and I thought she would crash through,” said Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia, back in 2008. “Caesar was understandably a very unhappy bear.”
When Caesar was rescued in 2004, a team from Animals Asia sedated her and got to work on removing the painful vest from her midsection. Her belly was wet and hairless from years of having the belt on and her open wounds caused huge scars.
The “torture vest” is described as the cruelest part of the bile industry, which supplies bile for traditional Chinese medicine, and it has since been banned in the country, although rescuers speculate that there are still bears stuck in these horrible traps today. There are an estimated 10,000 bears currently at bile farms, slowly dying from other forms of torture, and that’s just in China alone.
Fast forward to today and Caesar is as happy as a bear can get, spending her days climbing the playground in her enclosure and swimming around on hot days. She now has a majestic coat and Robinson said this about her health:
“Weighing in at a humongous 271kgs [598 lbs], Caesar is all muscle and all woman!”
Caesar has come a long way in her recovery and is a completely different bear as she runs free. She still gets full physical exams every couple of years, despite it being a difficult process for such a big bear, because bears that have been “tapped” like Caesar have a higher likelihood of developing liver cancer.
“[She was a] huge presence trapped in such a tiny, confining space,” said Nic Field, director of the Animals Asia’s China bear and vet team, of Caesar’s life before her rescue. “We’re honored to be able to provide her a better life, and watching her enjoy her surroundings every day is an absolute pleasure.”
“To see her out in the sunshine – a dozen years on from her rescue – it’s hard to imagine her existence back then,” Field said.
If you would like to donate towards Caesar’s care, or the rescue of tons of animals living in horrible conditions right now, you can donate to Animals Asia by clicking here.