Though LWRC isn't sure exactly where Joe came from, his story is a familiar one. Like most captive bears, he was likely taken from the wild after his mother was killed by poachers. He was then sold off in one of the many illegal wildlife markets that pepper Laos and other Asian countries where the wildlife trade runs rampant, before his owner turned him over to the temple.
"The trade in bears or bear parts for traditional medicine, cuisine or pets is widely spread in Asia," LWRC said. "People purchasing bear cubs as pets usually quickly realize these wild animals are not meant to be kept at home, resulting them to be sold on or instead they are being kept and hidden away in horrendous circumstances."
Joe watches his rescuers.Laos Wildlife Rescue Center