Bear Rescue Centre
The bear rescue centre is located at Kuang Si Park and waterfalls on 30 km from Luang Prabang in Northern Laos. Once you entered the gate/entrance of Kuang Si, you can either go straight over a wide road to the highest part of the waterfall, or you turn right into the small path. This path will bring you first to the bear rescue centre. There are boards with the names of some bears, but it’s further unclear how many bears in total are living in the bear rescue centre. Neither is mentioned how long those bears that you see are living there. By passing first the bears, you can still follow the path and pass all lower levels of the waterfalls.
Free the Bears
Apparently there is an organisation called Free the Bears. This organisation works together with Lao government agencies and operates bear rescue centres in Lao and Cambodia, as well as working together with many more bear rescue facilities. The total number of bears that Free the Bears cares for was 37, as per April 2016. Not all those 37 are living at Kuang Si bear rescue centre. Bears in Laos are being poached and killed for their body parts, of which traditional Chinese medicines are being made.
In April 2016 Free the Bears rescued two cubs at the back of a guesthouse. A third cub was discovered as a pet at a car dealership. The age was assumed to be somewhere between six to nine months. All three cubs were brought to the bear rescue centre of Kuang Si.
This all sounds as they’re doing a very good job by rescuing bears from a certain death or miserable life, but you can certainly question whether placing bears in ZOO like places is really the same as Free the Bears. The name Rescue the Bears might be better in that case than Free the Bears.
Keo – This bear has quite short legs. This means he/she isn’t a good climber, but is fast on the ground. He will be the first to find the food and that gave him a belly. He has a white stripe on his chest.
Damm – It’s Kaysasin’s sister and has a white stripe on the chest and a white nose. Often snoozing in or around the pool.
Deng – No matter how much he eats, he stays skinny. A bit different head from the typical moon bears. It loves to climb, but his eyesight is poor.
The bear rescue centre might be a good thing, but overall it’s nothing different from an average ZOO and the sign stating ‘Rescued & Happy’ is something the bears can’t tell you to be true or not. An impression can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxDgxns8aGA&feature=youtu.be