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Moon Bear Monday: Is Rescue Bear Rae Ready To Make New Friends?

Happy #moonbearmonday!

Gorgeous moon bear Rae looks radiant as she waits for best pal Elise to join her at the "picnic bench."

As usual, Rae will let Elise eat all the scattered dog food. She's always preferred apples and banana flowers.

The two friends have recently moved to a new enclosure at Animals Asia's Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre and are loving it – with lots and lots of happy bear wrestling and play.

Animals Asia Vietnam Bear and Vet Team Director Annemarie Weegenaar said, "Rae has taken the change of scene in her stride. She has enjoyed good wrestling time with her best friend Elise and is looking trim thanks to getting in shape by foraging well for food."

In 2012, Rae was rescued from Song Long Plastic Company, who had kept her for 13 years in a cage in front of their factory. While staff in charge of looking after Rae claimed that they never extracted her bile, other staff at the facility confessed that extraction had occurred as recently as 15 days before her rescue.

Despite being illegal, bear bile farming continues in Vietnam with nearly 2,000 bears still in captivity. These bears can endure up to 30 years of regular bile extraction as the fluid, extracted from the bears' gallbladder, is used in traditional medicine.

Animals Asia is dedicated to ending bear bile farming in China and Vietnam and has created three bear sanctuaries to rehabilitate bears rescued from the trade.

Since being rescued by Animals Asia, Rae has been reluctant to spend time with other bears only making friends with neighbor Elise โ€“ another female moon bear.

Annemarie said, "Because of her traumatic past, she's fairly antisocial with everyone apart from Elise and will growl at them, even when they are some distance away from her."

However, that's set to change as Rae and Elise have recently been joined by boisterous boys like Parly, Milagro and Raymond.

Let's hope Rae is finally ready to share that "picnic table" with her new friends as she enters the next stage of her lifelong process of rehabilitation.

Moon bear Rae was named in honor of Animals Asia vet nurse Rae Joy, a long time supporter of Animals Asia who was a valued part of the VBRC vet team from 2011 to 2012. Rest in peace Rae, you will never be forgotten.