Six moon bears rescued from bile farm in southern Vietnam
Saturday, 2017-12-09 04:39:07
NDO - A team from Animals Asia, a foundation dedicated to improving animal welfare, arrived in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong on December 8 on a mission to rescue six moon bears that have been caged in a bile farm for at least 12 years.
The six bears, including three males and three females, will be transferred into a transport cage on a truck, which will travel more than 1,500 kilometres overland to take them to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre at Tam Dao National Park in Vinh Phuc province.
The Animals Asia team is expected to arrive at the rescue centre on December 11 at which time the bears will start a 45-day quarantine period before embarking on a rehabilitation programme, with the final goal of releasing them into semi-natural enclosures alongside other rescued bears.
Named Mi, Mana, Anh Sang, Holly, Manu and Tim, the six moon bears all suffer from problems with their paws, joints, teeth and skins due to being chained in cages for a long time.
It is feared that one of the bears may be blind as he showed no visual reaction to a spoonful of sweet treats offered to him, according to Animals Asia.
The owner of the six rescued bears is Nguyen Tien Ngoc, who voluntarily handed over all of his 14 bears to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in 2011.
But a number of the bears remained on the farm as they were jointly owned by other business partners, who initially refused to give them up before Ngoc finally managed to convince them to set the bears free.
The latest mission marks a successful year for Animals Asia which rescued a total of 17 bears, with 15 in Binh Duong province, a hotspot of the bear bile industry in Vietnam, only behind Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
To date, Animals Asia has rescued the most number of bears from Binh Duong province with a total of 48.
In Vietnam, the number of bears living in nature has dwindled to just several hundred due to habitat loss, hunting and caging in bear farms to extract bile, which has long been prescribed as a traditional medicine to treat many ailments.
According to the Vietnam Forest protection Agency, there were about 1,245 moon bears being kept in 430 bear farms throughout the country as of 2015.