Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Tat Kuang Si Bears

This week my Wordless Wednesday photos are of the relaxed and sleepy bears at the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre in Laos. But without words, these images only tell the happy part of a much darker, sadder story. The centre is situated at the beautiful Tat Kuang Si Waterfall near Luang Prabang, which we visited while in Laos last month. It is now home to 23 beautiful and distinctively-marked Himalayan black bears, also known as Asiatic bears or Moon bears.

All the bears at Tat Kuang Si were rescued by the Lao government, mostly as very young cubs, after being illegally poached for their bile. The horrific practice of bile farming involves keeping bears in battery-farm conditions and extracting bile from their gall bladders up to three times a day. Bear bile has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and is believed to "relieve internal heat", whatever that is, but it is also prescribed for everything from hangovers to cancer and is found in a huge range of products from edible powders to shower gels.

To read more about the centre, or to make a donation, visit
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