Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Ginny is a rare moon bear who lives at Animals Asia’s bear sanctuary near Chengdu in southwest China. Gentle Ginny, named after the Born Free Foundation’s founder Virginia McKenna, shares a large enclosure with her mate Aussie.

Ginny’s story

For many years Ginny was kept in a tiny ‘crush’ cage at the bear farm. Here she was ‘milked’ for her bile via a metal catheter which was painfully inserted in her gall bladder causing terrible pain and infection. Bile is a digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder, then secreted to help digest fats. The pain was excruciating and tormented Ginny was emaciated and traumatised.

It is not surprising farmed bears have a life expectancy of just four years, compared to up to 25 years in the wild.

Bear bile is a traditional ingredient in Asian medicine and has been used for thousands of years to treat liver and intestinal diseases. But many practitioners now agree the numerous herbal and synthetic alternatives available are more effective, much less expensive and more readily available.


Luckily in October 2000, Ginny was rescued together with 200 other moon bears and now lives happily at Animals Asia’s sanctuary. After meticulous surgery to remove their catheters and treat other wounds, these animals now live free from pain at this wonderful sanctuary, cared for by a dedicated team. Ginny and her friends enjoy delicious food, lush natural foliage and swimming in cool water.

Thanks to this care Ginny has now recovered from her terrible experience, her wounds have healed and she’s grown healthy and strong. Sadly 7,000 other moon bears - named after the crescent of ivory fur on their chest - are still exploited in over 500 bile farms across China.

Animals Asia campaigns tirelessly to bring an end to this brutal practice of bear-farming. Supported by Born Free they have now developed a new bear sanctuary in Vietnam.

Sadly bear species face many other threats. Captive animals are used as dancing bears and exploited in circuses and zoos. Wild bears are killed for ‘sport’ and their habitats destroyed.


Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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