Five moon bears that had been held captive for 21 years in southern Vietnam were rescued in a recent operation by an animal rights’ group.

Animals Asia, a global non-government organization, rescued the five bears from a bile farm in My Tho in the Mekong Delta, according to tweets on its Twitter account on August 26.

The group said it would take the animals to their Bear Rescue Centre at Tam Dao National Park in northern Vietnam. The bears would be able to step out on to grass after 45 days of quarantine in early October, they said.

Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia, said the group was eagerly waiting for the five bears, namely LeBon, Kim, Mekong, Star and Mai to arrive at their new home. She said the operation was a big step toward the liberation of all bears who are still in bile farms in Vietnam.

The bears were medically assessed after their rescue before being taken on a long journey to the north. Tuan Bendixen, director of Animals Asia Vietnam, said the five bears were not given proper nutrition and medical attention over the past two decades.

Vietnam reportedly has about 800 bears in bile farms that have yet to be liberated, the Express UK reported recently. Bile from bears is used in traditional Oriental remedies and said to have components that can fight liver disease and other health concerns.

Moon bears are currently noted as “vulnerable” on the Red List of Endangered Species.