The following story is straight out of a horror movie. Caesar, the bear, spent the first part of his life in hell. For years, the innocent brown bear lived on a farm affiliated with the bear bile industry in China.
Like thousands of bears, he was locked in a small cage, never again seeing the sun or having room to run freely, while bile was drained from his gallbladder from an open wound in his side for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
As if that were not enough, Caesar also wore a torture belt, a metal cylinder that was cruelly strapped around his abdomen.
The contraption held in place the latex catheter that extracted the bile, as well as a metal box that collected it
“It is the worst torture imaginable at a bile farm,” Animals Asia, the organization that eventually rescued Caesar, said in a statement.
The horrible belt was as uncomfortable as it looked. “I remember her rescue very well, the poor thing was bouncing violently in her rusty cage at the Tianjin bear farm… It was understandable that she was a very unhappy bear,” explained Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia who also clarified that Caesar is a female.
When Animals Asia rescued her in 2004, she was extremely frustrated and sad, her belly damp and hairless because of the painful vest that prevented her from living a normal, happy life.
But after years of recovery at Animals Asia’s Chengdu sanctuary, Caesar was a completely different bear.
Happy and healthy, Caesar grew into a strong, muscular bear with an attitude that radiated happiness
“Caesar’s scars are gone and today he is an amazingly beautiful bear…and scary,” Jill joked, noting that the sturdy little bear was already reaching a weight of 271 kilograms.
After more than a decade of friendship, Animals Asia shared with the world adorable images of Caesar resting happily at the shelter.
Caesar loved to relax in the sanctuary’s sunny pool, splashing around and stopping only to shake the water out of his thick fur.
While Caesar’s transformation was incredible, it is also a reminder of the terrible living conditions many bears still face on Asia’s bile farms.
It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 bears locked up in China alone, most are moon bears, but some are brown bears like Caesar.
And while the creepy metal belt she wore has already been outlawed, that doesn’t mean there are no longer bears like her still trapped in medieval-looking artifacts.
Caesar’s rescue may be just a small dent to Asia’s bile industry, but for the beautiful bear it certainly represented a world of difference in her life.
Even after all those years, Caesar still made up for the time she spent hiding in the dark, which meant lots of swimming, playing and adventures on the grass.
We hope that more people will join the rescue of these innocent animals and that the authorities will eradicate this terrible practice once and for all.
UPDATE:After everyone celebrated this heartwarming ending, in November 2017, they announced Cesar’s unfortunate death, from a malignant tumor. This fatal result in his cells was the product of so much mutilation and infections that caused him that torture for years.
The world will never forget her, may her departure not have been in vain. Fly high, innocent martyr!
Let’s help raise awareness and drive social activism against the bear bile industry. Let us honor Cesar’s memory by sharing this story. Let us take comfort that at least the last few years he enjoyed the freedom he always deserved to have.