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Perth based Free the Bears organisation rescues five bears in Laos Photos at Perth Zoo Bohdan Warchomij August 23, 2019

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Images, Metaphor Online , trackback

The Perth founded animal rescue organisation, Free the Bears, set out on Monday to rescue two baby moon bears being kept illegally at a paper factory in regional Laos. They returned with five bears, making it the biggest rescue in a single day in Free the Bears’ history.

Dr Mary Hutton at Perth Zoo Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Dr Mary Hutton, Karrinyup local and founder of Free the Bears about the rescues which will give the five little bears a second chance at life.

Interviews were conducted at Perth Zoo’s Sun Bear exhibit, home to Jamran and Bopha, who were also rescued by Free the Bears before finding a  home at Perth Zoo. Jamran was found outside a restaurant destined to be dismembered and sold as an edible ‘delicacy’, Bopha was being kept illegally as a pet. Perth Zoo has supported Free the Bears for more than a decade and committed to helping end bear suffering.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij Perth Zoo


In 1993 Perth grandmother Mary Hutton saw a television program that would change her life. The segment contained horrifying footage of moon bears (Asiatic Black bears) held in coffin sized cages unable to move, with dirty catheters inserted directly into their gall bladder to ‘milk’ their bile.

Mary learned that thousands of bears were being held in these horrifying conditions throughout Asia, regularly milked for their bile to be used in traditional medicines.

The next day, Mary drew up a petition and stood at the entrance of the local shopping mall collecting signatures to help “Free the Bears”.  She collected thousands of signatures and a group of like-minded people determined to help bears and in 1995 registered Free the Bears Fund as a not-for-profit charity (Charity No: A1004507U).

As Mary organised raffles, film nights and other events to raise awareness about the plight of Asia’s bears, word of her work spread and requests for help arrived. After rescuing a pair of sun bears from Cambodia, having seen there were more bears in need, she began construction of the Cambodian Bear Sanctuary. This is now the world’s largest sanctuary for sun bears and has educated hundreds of thousands of Cambodians about the threats facing wild bear populations.


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