In addition to the dangerous conditions, the rescue was made more precarious due to the ill health of male bear Simon.
Having spent his entire life in a cage, Simon was suffering from a litany of issues. His movement was severely restricted, he had open wounds on his back, scarring on his head, damaged feet and potential eye problems.
Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:
"My heart broke when I saw the awful condition of these two bears. Simon is a bear you can't help but fall in love with, but his condition is just pitiful. He can barely stand and his teeth were literally falling out of his head. He's a broken bear that we have to get back to the sanctuary as quickly as possible. There are no guarantees for an animal in his condition."
With Simon's survival foremost in mind, the team opted to carefully set a lower anesthetic dose for a quick health check before loading the bear onto the waiting fishing barge.
In contrast to Simon's lethargy, female bear Sam was alert and agitated. Vets discovered her to be suffering from painful arthritis which will be an ongoing issue for her carers.