Almost two dozen Moon Bears have arrived in Colorado to find out that the grass really is greener on the other side.

According to a press release from The Wild Animal Sanctuary, 22 Moon bears were flown from South Korea to their new home at the Wild Animal Refuge in Springfield, Colorado.

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What Are Moon Bears?

Moon Bears are more commonly known as Asiatic Black Bears. According to BornFree, Moon Bears have, "shaggy black fur with a distinctive yellow crescent across the chest and large elongated ears."

Moon Bears are said to be extremely intelligent and they have a very extensive vocabulary of sounds.

The moon bear originates from Asia and can be found from Iran all the way to Japan.

Why Were Moon Bears Brought to Colorado?

The current population of Moons Bears is extremely vulnerable in part, due to the loss of their natural habitat through deforestation. The bigger problem with the population of Moon Bears actually comes from human exploitation.

In Asia, the bile from a moon bear and their gallbladder is commonly used for medicinal practices. Moon Bears and their gallbladders are harvested using a metal catheter.

Moon Bears in South Korea commonly have their teeth and claws removed and are forced live in small steel cages.

Colorado + Korea Collaboration of "Project Free: The Bear"

In 2017, the Korean government and bear farmers agreed to sterilize all the remaining moon bears living on Korean farms.

Despite the fact that Moon Bears will no longer be bred for farming, there are still over 300 Moon bears still living under torturous conditions and being harvested.

The Korean Animal Welfare Association, a Korean non-profit reached out to The Wild Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit based here in Colorado to help save the bears.

Here in Colorado we love and protect our wildlife and apparently that's clear across the world. Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck and the bears were unable to be rescued and flown over for approximately 2 years.

With the pandemic subsiding, 22 Moon Bears were finally able to be rescued. The Moon bears flew from Seoul, South Korea to Los Angeles International Airport where they were cleared by U.S. wildlife officials and then transported by special carrier to the Wild Animal Refuge in Springfield, Colorado.

How the Moon Bears and Others Reacted to Colorado Life

General In-Bum Chun, a decorated South Korean veteran, was onsite with other KAWA officials when the Moon Bears took their first steps in Colorado and stated:

 Americans have gained the respect of the world and Koreans not because of big ships or guns, but because of the humanity of its people which was demonstrated again and again by the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Denver, Colorado.

The Moon Bears were also said to be in high spirits upon their arrival at the 10,000-acre Baca County facility and were greeted with fresh water, apples, and veterinarians who were ready to help rehabilitate the animals.

For the first time in their lives, the Moon Bears were able to feel the Earth beneath their paws, as they had only ever known the feeling of cold steel bars.

While quite different from their life in South Korea, the big change was certainly a welcome one for the Moon Bears.

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