6 min read

Baby Bear Sisters Trapped In Hellish Cage Had Only Each Other

Two bear cub sisters, malnourished and trapped in a "horrid crate," waited patiently for someone to save them and finally give them what they've always deserved: freedom.

Free the Bears, an organization that works to rescue bears across southeast Asia, was notified of two baby bears in Nam Et Phou Louey in Laos - a protected area, but one in which some villages unfortunately still trade in bears and bear parts. While it's unclear why these sisters were caged, it's likely they may have been held for their bile, which is sometimes used in traditional Asian medicine, or perhaps as part of the illegal pet trade.

Nam Et and Louey, as the cubs were later named, were severely neglected. They were likely 4 to 5 months old, were terribly thin and had lost significant tufts of fur.

Free the Bears had to wait for permission before transporting the cubs back to its sanctuary. In the meantime, rescuers freed the cubs from their cage and began to get them accustomed to the transportation crate they would be housed in during their transport.

The cubs were introduced to grass and fresh air, luxuries that they had likely never known before, and their rescuers gave them fruits and vegetables, as well as some milk - which they "devoured with relish."

"Bringing them out into the fresh air, with some grass under their feet ... the transformation in their characters was incredible," Free the Bears posted on its Facebook page.

Once permission was finally granted, rescuers began the more than 10-hour drive back to the sanctuary. The drive back was a picturesque one, yet bittersweet. "The beauty is only dampened by the knowledge that our cubs belong in that forest but have had that life stolen from them," Free the Bears wrote.

Finally, rescuers arrived back at the sanctuary, and the sweet little cubs were safe. In fact, they felt so at home that they got right down to doing some very rambunctious things ...

... like learning to read ...

... inspecting the foliage ...

... and taste-testing some shoes.

"At the risk of sounding negative can we state once again that BEARS DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS! After less than 24 hours with the new arrivals in our office we've been reminded of this simple fact so many times - and have now built them a dedicated nursery area adjoining the garden so they can run riot, dig, scratch and destroy just like bears are born to do," Free the Bears wrote.

The sisters are slowly gaining back their strength, though they have a long road ahead of them. Thanks to Free the Bears and other organizations like them, these cubs are able to be rescued from horrible lives, but many are still suffering. Today, there are more than 12,000 bears on bear bile farms in China and Vietnam alone, and more in the illegal pet trade.

"Hopefully over coming years we'll be able to continue to expand our education programmes in Laos and really make an impact on people's behaviour," Free the Bears wrote in a comment on its Facebook Page. "So often the wrong thing is done simply because people don't know what to do for the best!"

Below is a video that Free the Bears released Friday, chronicling Nam Et and Louey's full journey: