Snoopy is a moon bear. She was rescued from a torturous bear bile farm, and now lives in the Animals Asia Foundation’s, Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu, China.
Moon bears are kept in horrible conditions on these farms, so that their bile can be milked and used in Chinese medicines. Bears like Snoopy are often kept in coffin-sized cages for up to 25 years and denied access to food and water as this increases their bile production.
This is a legal state-licensed enterprise in China which causes many health issues for the bears. Along with liver cancer, which 44 per cent of rescued bears die with, eye disease is also common.
Moon Bears have an incredible sense of smell which often masks their blindness, but after her arrival at the centre, staff realised Snoopy was blind. She was diagnosed with severe cataracts in both eyes.
Snoopy waited six years for sight, until a team of our vets visited the centre and decided that with the right equipment, they could help her. It was not immediately evident that she could see post-surgery, but a few days later her bear manager noticed Snoopy watching her for the first time as she walked past her den, and it was clear that her vision had been restored.
Our vets operated on ten bears in total on that visit to the centre. Snoopy’s surgery, and the other procedures our vets performed, were made possible due to brand new technology called a phaco-emulsification kit. It is lighter and more portable allowing cataract surgery to be carried out easily on larger animals.
Thanks to our fundraising campaign ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’, enough money was raised to buy this equipment and help Snoopy and several other large animals to see again.
Claudia Hartley, our Head of Ophthalmology, said: “On my first visit to the centre I saw several bears I knew I could help. One of those was Snoopy – an incredibly gentle and beautiful bear. I’m so glad that we were able to go back to China with the portable kit and help so many bears to see again.”