Nine bears rescued in Vietnam 03

Nine captive bears rescued from bile farms in Vietnam


Thanks to you, the largest bear rescue World Animal Protection has ever supported, happened last week. Nine bears have finally been freed from three bile farms in south Vietnam.

Because of your support, we've worked tirelessly with all three farm owners to convince them to voluntarily surrender the bears to sanctuaries. Due to COVID-19, previous rescue missions had to be postponed.

The bears have spent years trapped in dark, narrow cages and with inadequate food. Due to these conditions some of the bears are thin, weak and small. 

After lengthy negotiations, the farmers agreed to transfer the nine bears from Binh Duong province. Thanks to you, the bears were moved to a bear sanctuary, run by Four Paws, in Ninh Binh province. 

One of the bears being rescued from Huynh Thi My (Thanh Canh) farm. The bear was anaesthetised and had their health checked, before being put on to the truck. Image: World Animal Protection.

The rescue team visited two farms, last Thursday (10 February). At Vu Van Hien farm, two bears, a 190kg female and a 185kg male, were anesthetised and had health checks before being transported. The second farm, Nguyen Ngoc Tien, voluntarily surrendered four bears who did not need to be anesthetised and even seemed very excited.   

Nine bears rescued in Vietnam

The team rescued three more bears from Huynh Thi My farm on Friday, 11 February. They were anesthetised, had health checks, and transported. The bears are very small, weighing between 50-60kg each, due to poor care.

Their former owner says he hopes they will have better lives. 

Despite bear bile extraction being made illegal in Vietnam in 2005, farmers are still allowed to keep bears as ‘pets’, which provides cover for illegal bear bile farming. 

With you by our side, we've been working in partnership with the Forest Protection Department in Vietnam - a central authority in charge of forestry and wildlife (Central FPD) – on a bear microchipping and monitoring program.

Once each bear has a microchip it will be checked in about twice a year to prevent new bears from the wild entering the facilities. In addition, this program is also to convince bear farmers to give up their bears.

Nine bears rescued in Vietnam

One of the bears being rescued from Nguyen Ngoc Tien farm. All four bears were able to be moved without the use of anaesthetic. Image: World Animal Protection. 

Maya Pastakia, Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection said:

“This huge milestone means we are now nine bears closer to a bear-bile free Vietnam.

“Despite the strides made to end bear farming in Vietnam, hundreds of bears are still suffering a tortuous life in captivity for their bile. These nine bears were kept in tiny cages - not much larger than a telephone booth – for at least 17 years, which is when they were first microchipped. While they are the ‘lucky ones’ who are now free from cruelty, the scars from their extreme physical and psychological suffering will last their lifetime.

“The government of Vietnam must close all remaining legal loopholes and prohibit farmers from keeping their caged bears as pets in order to end the barbaric and illegal practice of bear bile farming.”

All nine bears will now enjoy their lives free from cruelty and suffering, receive excellent care and be closer to nature where they belong. 

Closer to a bear-bile free Vietnam

In 2005 the number of bears on farms in Vietnam was 4,300. Today there are fewer than 314, a 93% reduction. These rescues bring us nine bears closer to a bear-bile free Vietnam. 

With your continued support, we'll work until all provinces in Vietnam are free from this cruel practice

Bear bile farming is wholly unjustified as there are herbal and non-bear bile alternatives. With safe and cheap alternatives, bears are suffering unnecessarily. 

This rescue comes as we celebrate our 30-years of working to protect bears.

During this period, you've rescued and rehomed hundreds of bears around the world, designed and funded 12 bear sanctuaries globally, and worked in 25 countries to help captive bears. This is in addition to the mass sterilization initiatives, consumer campaigns, and government lobbying we have implemented.

Bear bile farming is one of the most horrific examples of institutionalised animal cruelty that happens in the world today. Will you join us to end it

“The government of Vietnam must close all remaining legal loopholes and prohibit farmers from keeping their caged bears as pets in order to end the barbaric and illegal practice of bear bile farming.

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