A household in Phung Thuong Commune, Phuc Tho District, Hanoi have willingly surrendered two bears to the authorities.

Employees check bear enclosures at the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain before the first two dwellers come. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
Employees check bear enclosures at the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain before the first two dwellers come. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre

After the handover, the two bears underwent health evaluations conducted by veterinary surgeons from Animals Asia. Animals Asia is a Hong Kong-based charity dedicated to combating animal cruelty in Asia.

Both bears were declared to be in good health.

The Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain is proud to introduce its first two residents, Armstrong and Buzz. These two bears are the pioneers of the sanctuary and serve as ambassadors for all the bears that will come after them. We are honored to have them as part of our community.

The names of these individuals were inspired by the pioneering astronauts who were the first to step on the lunar surface.

Throughout their 800-kilometer journey, the two bears were regularly monitored, provided with water, and given food every two to three hours.

A male bear named Amstrong is one of the first two residents at the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A male bear named Amstrong is one of the first two residents at the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre

Upon their arrival, the two bears were given nourishing milk and honey. They were subsequently transferred to a designated quarantine area for thorough medical observation and monitoring.

The animals will be transferred to their designated enclosures after the quarantine period of 30-45 days.

The construction of the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain has exceeded a budget of over US$10 million.

According to Tuan Bendixen, the director at Animals Asia and co-director at the management board of the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary Project on Bach Ma Mountain, the facility will have the capacity to house more than 300 bears once it is finished.

The sanctuary, spanning over 12.7 hectares, is projected to accommodate approximately 50 bears by the end of 2023.

“We have chosen Bach Ma Mountain as the optimal location for establishing our bear sanctuary, primarily due to its favorable climate. Our objective is to utilize this site as a base for reintroducing certain bear species into their natural habitat,” stated Tuan.

The sanctuary boasts a wide range of amenities and facilities designed to accommodate and care for the resident bears. These include 12 spacious bear cages, 12 semi-wild areas to provide a more natural setting, dedicated quarantine areas for newly arrived bears, state-of-the-art veterinary facilities, food processing areas to ensure a proper diet for the animals, and a specialized waste treatment area for managing waste disposal.

The sanctuary is responsible for spearheading initiatives aimed at promoting awareness and sustainable conservation of bears.

The Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain in Thua Thien Hue Province can accommodate over 300 bears. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
The Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain in Thua Thien-Hue Province can accommodate over 300 bears. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A group of young foreigners visit the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain in Thua Thien Hue Province. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A group of young foreigners visit the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary on Bach Ma Mountain in Thua Thien-Hue Province. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A hospital for bears is in the process of being equipped with modern machines and technology. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A hospital for bears is in the process of being equipped with modern machines and technology. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
An employee gives milk mixed with honey to one of two Asian black bears. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
An employee gives milk mixed with honey to one of two Asian black bears. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
Employees relocate a bear to a quarantine area for health monitoring. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
Employees relocate a bear to a quarantine area for health monitoring. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre