Asiatic Black bears have a light-coloured 'crescent moon' V-shape on their chest, which is why they are commonly called Moon bears. Similar in size to Sloth bears, but with shorter fur and muzzles, they are found all over Asia, from China all the way down to Vietnam, from Russia all the way to Japan.
Moon bears are hunted for their skin, paws and the gall bladder. The bears are captured and milked for bile that is then used in traditional medicine. Recent deforestation across the Asian continent is another major threat to the survival of the species. Logging, development, and the ever- encroaching human population continues to cause the clearing of bear habitat, which why they desperately need our help.
No-one knows where Hope was born. She and seven other Moon bear cubs were seized from a wildlife trader’s house in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in December 2003. Being close to the border of Laos, it is quite likely that she was stolen from the forest and illegally trafficked across the border into Vietnam. Most probably the victim of a snare, Hope was missing a forelimb. This cruel way of capturing bears and other wildlife is responsible for countless deaths - Hope, however is a survivor.
Lom was rescued in 2006 after he was confiscated by the Forestry Department in Bokeo Province, Laos. Forestry Officers chased the bear hunters through the forest as they tried to evade capture. Armed officers opened fire in order to prevent their escape the bears were successfully rescued.