Activities call for public support to end bear farming

Wednesday, 2016-12-21 11:26:45
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The events saw thousands of people pledge not to use bear bile or products made from bears.
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NDO—Education for Nature–Vietnam (ENV) and volunteers from its 6,200-member Wildlife Protection Network carried out a series of awareness activities in fifteen major cities across the country on December 20 aimed at encouraging the public to take action to bring an end to the cruel and illegal bear bile business.

The events are within the scope of Vietnam Bear Day, which has been held annually since 2012 by ENV, a Vietnamese NGO focused on environmental protection. They were hosted at universities, markets, parks and shopping malls in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Thai Nguyen, Hai Phong, Vinh, Ha Tinh, Dong Hoi, Dong Ha, Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Bien Hoa, Thu Dau Mot, Vung Tau and Can Tho.

They saw a warm response from the public, with thousands of people pledging on behalf of their families not to use bear bile or products made from bears. At Da Nang’s event, on Tuesday morning alone, organisers obtained 400 signatures saying “no” to bear bile and bear products, with more than 300 opinions sharing the theme of protecting bears.

Nguyen Sy Bao Quoc, leader of the Nghe An Club, said that bear bile farming had been going on for too long, urging the public to take action to urgently bring an end to the practice before all bears disappear from the wild.

Over the last ten years, the fight against bear farming in Vietnam has passed significant milestones, thanks to joint efforts and hard work from relevant authorities, NGOs and the public. Captive bear numbers have decreased dramatically from 4,300 in 2005 to over 1,200, while bear bile consumption has slumped by 61% since 2009, according to ENV research.

Signing commitments to protect bears at Bien Hoa Market in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Many bear farm owners have given up their bear bile businesses and dozens of bears have been transferred to the Government this year. Earlier this month, six bears were voluntarily turned over to the authorities in Dak Lak after the owner expressed his desire to give up the bears he had been keeping for more than a decade.

ENV Deputy Director Nguyen Phuong Dung said that the increase in the number of voluntary bear transfers was a good indicator showing that bear owners understand that the business of keeping bears for bile is coming to an end.

When no-one consumes bear bile, there will be no more bear farms, and bears in the wild will no longer face the risk of capture to supply the bear bile industry, she added.

On the occasion of the events, ENV also joined famous MC from VTV Hoai Anh in a vlog to call upon the public to actively help expedite the end of bear bile farming in Vietnam, in which Hoai Anh urged the public to be “Bear Heroes” by choosing not to use bear bile and advising others to do the same [Link].

ENV also called on the public to take action by alerting local authorities or ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline at 1800-1522 when they see bear bile or products therefrom being advertised, sold or traded.

An official from the Hanoi Architectural University signs commitment to protect bears.