Six more bears rescued in Dak Lak

Tuesday, 2016-12-06 11:15:13
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Veterinarians anesthetise Snow to prepare for the rescue.
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NDO—The Animals Asia Foundation successfully rescued six moon bears held in captivity for over ten years at a farm in the city of Buon Ma Thuot, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on December 5.

The six bears were voluntarily transferred to the State by their owners. Five of them were enticed into specialised transport cages prepared for the rescue operation, while the other bear, named Snow, was anesthetised and examined before being rescued due to health issues.

The health status of all six bears was poor, as they had been kept in captivity for many years. Their teeth showed signs of damage and some had had limbs amputated, as is common among captive bears.

Animals Asia’s Senior Veterinary Surgeon Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa said that most bile bears—that is, bears who are held in captivity so that their bile can be harvested—suffer from malnutrition, shattered teeth from trying to chew their way through the metal bars of their cages, skin disorders, the risk of cancer as a result of bile extraction and extreme mental disorders.

As the bears were rescued in the final weeks of 2016, close to the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, the wildlife conservation organisation gave them cute names: Bí Xanh (Zucchini), Snow, Poe (Peace on Earth), Ivy, Cranberry and Winter.

The bears are expected to arrive at the bear rescue centre in Vinh Phuc by Thursday.

The rescue was made possible by local Forestry Protection Department officials who convinced the bears’ owners to finally give up the long-suffering animals.

On Tuesday, the rescue team begins a 1,300km journey from Dak Lak to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in the northern province of Vinh Phuc.

To date, Animals Asia has successfully rescued 175 bears, of which 161 are provided with healthcare and live outdoors in the semi-natural areas at the centre.

In 2016, the organisation has rescued fourteen bears, including twelve moon and two sun bears, from Da Nang, Lam Dong, Nam Dinh, Gia Lai and Dak Lak.

In 2005, Vietnam attempted to eradicate bear bile farming by microchipping every bear in captivity and banning any new bears from being added to existing stocks. At the time, more than 4,239 bears were being held on farms around the country.