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‘Happiest Bear Ever’ Sees Water for the First Time After 9 Years in Captivity



Quick Smiles:

  • After nine grueling years in a bile farm, Tuffy the bear was rescued by the amazing team at Animals Asia.
  • For the first time ever, Tuffy experienced the joy of splashing around in water, a sight that brought laughter and joy to his rescuers.
  • Tuffy’s transformation from a life of pain to one of freedom and playfulness serves as an inspiring testament to the resilience of animals.

Imagine being stuck in a tiny cage for nine long years, with no room to stretch or play. That was the reality for Tuffy, a bear who spent the better part of a decade in a bile farm. The workers there would strap him into a device (that we’re just going to call the ‘no-fun vest’), and extract bile from his gallbladder for traditional medicine. Not exactly a day at the spa, right?

But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. Tuffy’s days of suffering finally came to an end when the superheroes at Animals Asia swooped in to rescue him. His gallbladder was so damaged it had to be removed, and he also had three fractured teeth and dry, cracked paws.

Louise Ellis, the Bear Manager at Animals Asia, explained that this was a common issue for bile farm bears as they only walk on bars, not grass. Dehydration likely played a part too.

Now, picture this: Tuffy, having never seen water in such abundance, spots a pool for the first time. Can you guess what happened next? He was over the moon! He dashed towards it, eager to explore and splash around. His rescuers couldn’t help but share in his joy, watching him fully embrace his newfound freedom.

Louise Ellis reflected on this sight, saying, “Coming from years of little or no water, for Tuffy this must feel like a true oasis after being parched and in pain for so long. It must have felt like such a relief to have the freedom to splash around in the water after only being able to stand on the hard metal bars of the bile farm cage.”

Over the next year, Tuffy regained his strength, visibly put on weight, and thrived in his new environment. Once he was strong enough, he joined an enclosure with 15 other moon bears who had similar pasts.

Bear manager Sarah van Herpt couldn’t help but gush about Tuffy, saying, “We all adore Tuffy, he is such a playful bear that it is impossible not to fall in love with him. And when he’s having a good day, everybody wants to be his friend.”


This rescue story promises a future where many bears, like Tuffy, will be saved from harsh conditions and experience the joy and freedom of sanctuary life.

After enduring nine years in a small cage, Tuffy now enjoys a wonderful life in his sanctuary home. His story of transformation and joy serves as an inspiring reminder of the resilience and spirit of animals.

So, go ahead and share this with your friends and family. Spread the joy!