You Won’t Believe How Much Trouble This Bear Went Through Just So He Could Climb Trees!

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Blue is a Cambodian sun bear, found in a blue basket by rescuers at Free the Bears, who suffered an injury as a young cub that severely affected his ability to walk.

He was brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, where veterinarians assessed Blue’s well-being. They determined that, if Blue’s condition worsened or if he began to show signs of chronic pain, then he should be euthanized.

Instead, Blue was paired with a rambunctious bear cub named Baker, whose sparky disposition challenged Blue to defy his injury and — with the help of twenty-four-hour care and some intense rehabilitation — he was finally able to walk!

If it weren’t for Free the Bears, Blue would likely have been used as a pet or for entertainment (a common practice in Cambodia), or worse he might have been farmed for his bile and gall bladder.

Bear bile has been marketed as a cure-all since the emergence of bear farming in the early 1980s, but the methods used by such farmers is painful and invasive for the bears. Bile is often extracted with unsanitary catheters as the bears are kept in limited enclosures. Free the Bears has been rescuing bears from these farms since 1995.

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.
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