Meet Caesar. This poor bear spent the first part of life in a devastating condition. She lived in a farm in China that harvested ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine, meaning, Caesar was forced to supply the farm with bile from her gallbladder on the daily. Her owners drained her of the fluid 24 hours every day and bound her in a restrictive metal vest. She was kept in a tiny room where she couldn’t even move properly.
But her life was about to be changed for ever. Some kind animal advocates came to Caesar’s defense and gave her a second chance at life.
Like thousands of other bears in China, this poor thing grew up in what one would call hell on earth. Caesar had an open wound on her side and was forced to risk her own life for the sake of traditional medicine. The torture vest, a metal cylinder that was belted around her abdomen, 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. The bear suffered immensely in her terrible living conditions. It is amazing that she even managed to survive. But hope came in 2004 when she was one of several lucky bears rescued by Animals Asia. However, she was already frustrated, miserable, and seriously wounded. Thankfully, she soon got the love and care she needed and deserved.
Today, Caesar is a completely different bear. She has transformed into a strong and majestic creature with a beautiful and 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!”
Some of her favorite activities are swimming and sunbathing, as well as digging — especially when the weather is nice and cool in the fall.
Caesar got a happy ending, but there are lots of bears like her that are still suffering. It has been estimated that are 10,000 bears have been locked up in China alone.
“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 of them are are moon bears, but some are brown bears, like Caesar.
The metal vest she was forced to wear has since been outlawed, however, there are bears that are still trapped in the medieval-looking devices even to this day.
“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, said.
Caesar’s rescue has changed her life for the better. Even after all these years, the bear is still making up for the time she was locked away in the 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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