Caesar the bear spent the first part of her life in hell.
Bear Caesar spent the first part of her life in a kind of hell on earth. She lived on a farm in China that harvested ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine.
She was cruelly forced to supply the farm with bile from her gallbladder. Her captors drained her of the fluid 24 hours a day and bound her in a restrictive metal vest. She was confined to a small room where she could barely move.
But just as it appeared her life would never improve, kind-hearted animal advocates came to Caesar’s defense… and changed everything
Like thousands of other bears in China, Caesar grew up in what could best be likened to hell on earth. She was forced to live in a small confined space and had what could only be described as a torture west strapped onto her. Even worse, Caesar had an open wound on her side. She was forced to supply them bile from her gallbladder, which they used to make traditional Chinese medicine.
But Caesar also wore a torture vest, a cruel metal cylinder that was belted around her abdomen. The contraption kept in place the “crude” latex catheter that siphoned out the bile, as well as a metal box to collect it in.
“It’s the worst imaginable bile farm torture,” Animals Asia, who saved Caesar, said about the vest.
Caesar suffered immensely in her terrible living conditions, and it’s incredible that she was able to survive. But amidst the darkness, without hope for an end to the torture, everything changed for Caesar in 2004 when she was one of several lucky bears rescued by Animals Asia.
By this time, she was frustrated, miserable, and seriously wounded. But thanks to Animals Asia, she was finally able to break free of the awful vest and get the love and care she needed and deserved.
Fortunately, Caesar was one of the lucky ones to escape the bile industry. When Animals Asia rescued her in 2004, she was frustrated and miserable, her abdomen wet and hairless from the painful vest. She had never lived a natural life.
Today, she’s completely transformed into a strong, majestic bear with a beautiful, radiant coat.
“Caesar’s scars have all but disappeared and today she is an astonishingly beautiful (and formidable) bear. Weighing in at a humongous 271 kgs [598 lbs], Caesar is all muscle and all woman!”
Her favorite activities include swimming and sunbathing, as well as digging—especially when the weather’s nice and cool in the fall.
Although Caesar’s story had a happy ending, it’s important to remember how much work still needs to be done to end animal torture. In China, there are an estimated 10,000 bears locked up. Hopefully, Caesar’s story will serve as a wake-up call so that animal lovers the world over will band together and help put a stop to this.
“Seeing a bear shake themselves like this is always a moment full of awe — they’re such incredibly beautiful, powerful animals and none more so than Caesar,” Nic Field, director of the group’s China bear and vet team, said in a statement. “To see her out in the sunshine — a dozen years on from her rescue — it’s hard to imagine her existence back then.”
Most are moon bears, but some are brown bears like Caesar.
And while the cruel metal vest she wore has since been outlawed, that doesn’t mean there aren’t bears like her still trapped in the medieval-looking devices.
“These metal jackets are now illegal so less common, but it’s likely that there are still some out there,” Steve Jackson, head of communications for Animals Asia, told us.
But while Caesar’s rescue might be one small dent in the bile industry, it made a world of difference in the life of one happy brown bear. Even after all these years, she’s still making up for the time she spent tucked away in darkness — which means lots of swimming, climbing and running through the grass.
“[She was a] huge presence trapped in such a tiny, confining space,” Field said of Caesar’s life before her rescue. “We’re honored to be able to provide her a better life, and watching her enjoy her surroundings every day is an absolute pleasure.”
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