Cambodia Bear Rescue - Additional Information

More details about the project

Click here to go back to Project Page

The Bear Rescue project was established in 1995 and Pod Volunteer have been supporting them since 2007. They work with the Cambodian Forestry Administration to protect and rescue Sun Bears (Helarctos malayanus) and Moon Bears (Ursus thibetanus) from the threats they face. The centre is the world's largest sanctuary for sun bears. These threats include mass deforestation, the pet industry and the traditional medicine market - despite poaching and owning a bear as a pet being illegal in Cambodia. Unfortunately, bear bile being is a highly prized commodity in black market trade in South East Asia. 

The bears at the centre come from a variety of backgrounds including: 

  • Rescued from hotels and restaurants where they were caged for the amusement of guests and tourists
  • Confiscated from poachers selling orphaned cubs as exotic pets or status symbols 
  • Handed in by owners who had previously purchased them as a pet but are now too dangerous or too big to handle 
  • Handed in by local officials having freed the bear from snare traps set in forests 
  • Seized from the black market where their gall bladders and other parts may have been used for traditional medicines or souvenirs 

The centre covers an area of approximately 7 hectares, with large rocky outcrops, native vegetation, bathing pools and night dens. Each enclosure includes enrichments such as climbing frames and hammocks. The large spacious enclosures provides the bears with a life as close as possible to that in the wild. The centre has a world-class Cub Nursery and Quarantine Area, using state of the art green design including solar power, water treatment, composting and gardens.

As part of its conservation efforts, the centre has focussed on teaching children from local schools about the importance of conservation and preservation of the species.  

The assistance volunteers provides enables the project to strive towards its primary aims to:

  • Rescue bears from captivity or abuse 
  • To provide a safe haven for the bears as their natural habitat decreases and the trade in wild animals and their parts increases
  • Support campaigns against animal mistreatment in Cambodia and South-East Asia 
  • Work with local government authorities to end illegal wildlife trading 
  • Engage and educate the local population of the need to protect and conserve bears in Cambodia 

Click here to go back to Project Page


  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal