More bears rescued from local bear bile farms

Seven Asiatic black bears were released from two different bear bile farms in the southern province of Binh Duong on November 13, after bear owners have agreed to free them from cramped cages to live a better life at rescue centres.

The rescued bears are taking a bath before getting on the truck to the bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh.
The rescued bears are taking a bath before getting on the truck to the bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh.

All seven bears are now on their way to the bear sanctuary run by the international animal welfare organisation Four Paws in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

In addition to the recused bears in Binh Duong, six more bears in Lam Dong, Hai Duong and Hanoi were delivered in October and two others from Phu Tho were transferred on November 3.

From the beginning of October, a total of 15 bears have been transferred from bear bile farms to rescue centres, according to Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), a local NGO focused on the conservation of nature and the environment.

In recent years, many bear owners have decided to transfer their bears to rescue centres, Vu Thi Quyen, ENV Director said, adding that her NGO will continue its efforts to mobilise other bear owners across the country to act in the same way and help put an end to bear bile farming in Vietnam.

In 2005, the country had more than 4,300 bears in farms for bile. However, as of November 2020, this number has decreased to less than 400 with more than 60% of provinces and cities in Vietnam no longer keeping bears for bile, thanks to the efforts of government, law enforcement agencies, the community and a number of NGOs in Vietnam.

Maya Pastakia, Global Campaign Manager at the World Animal Protection (WAP), appreciated the Vietnamese government's efforts to end bear bile farming, adding that the number of bears in bear bile facilities has decreased by 90% since 2005.

More bears rescued from local bear bile farms ảnh 1

A bear with mutated fur waiting to be rescued.

It was Four Paws' biggest bear rescue trip in 2020, said Barbara van Genne, Four Paws' Advocacy & Wildlife Programme Manager. At the Ninh Binh Bear Conservation Centre founded in 2019, Four Paws provides a new home for rescued bears, allowing them to live with similar species in a semi-wild environment with nutritious rations and the care of veterinarians.

In 2005, the WAP in cooperation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reached a landmark agreement to gradually eliminate bear bile farming in Vietnam. In cooperation with the Government of Vietnam, the WAP and ENV have provided equipment and professional training to attach microchips to bears in bear bile facilities for better management.

In parallel with the activity, Provincial Forest Protection Departments have also strengthened inspection and supervision of bear captive activities, while transferring bears to rescue centres operated by the State or international organisations, such as Four Paws, Free the Bears and Animals Asia Foundation.

In addition to the sanctuary in Ninh Binh, Animals Asia Foundation also runs the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre at Tam Dao National Park. In the South, Free the Bears operates a Bear Rescue Centre in Cat Tien National Park. In Hanoi and some other localities across the country, there are also rescue centres capable of receiving bears.