In collaboration with the Laos Department of Forestry, construction of the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre in Luang Prabang began in 2003. Eventually three bear houses were built with a capacity for 25 rescued bears.
In 2013, the world's first ever neurosurgery on a bear relieved our beautiful moon bear ChamPa of the pain associated with hydrocephaly. 2014 saw completion of a Bear Discovery Trail to educate the 200,000+ tourists who pass the Bear Rescue Centre on their way to visit the famous Kuang Si waterfall.
After a spate of bear rescues filled the Bear Rescue Centre, it became clear that we'd need to expand and in late 2017 we opened the first bear house at our new Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary
Since this time we've had record rescues of bears. most of which are orphaned cubs (see our latest rescue here, March 2023) More than 125 bears have been rescued in Laos. We've built seven bear houses at the new sanctuary and are planning (and fundraising) for more in preparation for additional rescues, growing cubs and bile farm closures. The sanctuary was featured in the BBC series Bears About the House (watch Episode 1 here).
The Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary also has enclosures and facilities for many other endangered wildlife species we've rescued including macaques/monkeys, leopard cats, tortoises, birds, civets, and even endangered red pandas, intercepted after being smuggled from China into Laos.
A Wildlife Hospital, Cub Nursery, Quarantine House and Pangolarium (for rescued pangolins and other reptiles) were all completed in 2019. In 2019 we also had our first release of rehabilitated wildlife to protected forest, a proud moment (several more releases have followed since).
We're providing valuable training, employment opportunities and alternative livelihoods to government officials, local villagers and youth, who are destined to become Lao's future wildlife warriors.
We'd love for you to visit for a day, your Bear Care Tour will help protect and care for endangered species in Laos.
If you would like to support our cause (Free the Bears is a small charity but rescuing more endangered bear cubs than any other organisation on Earth), we'd be incredibly grateful for your support, your donation genuinely makes a difference to endangered bears. Learn more about joining our family of Bear Carers by clicking here. Thank you.