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16 Moon Bear Cubs Rescued From Poacher in Laos

A raid in late March put 16 moon bear cubs in the hands of wildlife rehabilitators who lovingly bottle feed and care for the babies around the clock. Officials rescued the cubs from a poacher’s home in Laos, according to Reuters.

Moon bears, or Asiatic black bears, are endangered thanks in part to poaching and wildlife trafficking. In some parts of the world, humans use bear bile in medicine (particularly in traditional Chinese medicine).

Poachers hunt and kill moon bears for their gallbladders and the valuable bile inside. In Asia, “bear farms” keep live bears for bile extraction. Sadly, many bears in these facilities die of chronic infection or other illnesses.

It’s possible this would have been the 16 moon bear cubs’ fate. Thankfully, wildlife officials stepped in, and the cubs are now in the hands of people who have the bears’ best interests at heart.

Moon bears live in the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, and parts of eastern Asia. Like the black bears in North America, Asiatic black bears are omnivores. They eat a range of things, including fruit and nuts, insects, bees and honey, and small mammals.

As you can glimpse in the video, moon bears have a crescent moon-shaped patch of light-colored fur on their chest.

For now, the bear cubs will live at a sanctuary in Luang Prabang run by Free the Bears, an Australian wildlife conservation group.

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