Travellers help build Laos wildlife sanctuary and raise $16,000

Join a Free the Bears trip to help little guys like this one
Join a Free the Bears trip to help little guys like this one

A dedicated group of World Expeditions travellers helped raise $16,000 AUD for more than 500 rescued bears who live at Free the Bears sanctuaries in Vietnam and Laos.

As part of our February 2019 charity challenge, the 17 volunteers spent a week at bear sanctuaries in Vietnam and Laos working with staff on a variety of bear enrichment programs during their Free the Bears journey.

I will never forget the tour I was on. It gave me the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia, something I would not have done if not for World Expeditions. The trip broadened my mind, gave me an insight to the culture, poverty and how people in other parts of the world live.

– a traveller on the Free the Bears Vietnam and Laos journey

The group worked tirelessly to help complete the new home for animals affected by illegal wildlife trade in Laos in the lead-up to the launch and official opening ceremony of the new Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary, which now houses up to 150 bears. By getting involved behind the scenes, each traveller had a direct impact in helping the animals who are recovering from decades of abuse.

"Our newest sanctuary in Laos, the Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary, is home to many different species of animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade – besides the bears and red pandas.  Tortoises, macaque monkeys, leopard cats, civets and various birds are also cared for at the Sanctuary," says Matt Hunt, Free the Bears CEO.

Our hope is to re-release as many of these animals as possible back into the wild.

The Laos government’s new ruling to ban wildlife exports has been a game-changer for the industry and means that it's likely to see several bear bile farms close down in the coming year or two.

"This is wonderful news for the bears but will put a great strain on our team as they work to build the new sanctuary so that we can offer rescued bears the very best of conditions," Matt says.  "We really appreciate the help from World Expeditions' travellers, who lend a hand to make sure that when those bears are finally freed, they get to enjoy all the most wonderful of comforts such as tailor-made hammocks, treat balls and beautiful climbing frames to play on."

Bear hugs around for the amazing work to all involved! View our new charity challenge project for 2020 with acclaimed wildlife photographer Alex Cearns >

#ThoughtfulTravel

bear sanctuary, charity challenge, charity project, Community Projects, Free the Bears, volunteering, Wildlife

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