Vietnam bears escape life on ‘farm’ after prolonged battle

Following a protracted three-year battle, WSPA’s partner in Vietnam, Environment for Nature Vietnam (ENV), has secured the release of three bears and saved them from a life of suffering on an illegal bear bile ‘farm’. 

In April 2008, a concerned local resident reported the small, unlicensed ‘farm’ in the northern province of Nam Dinh on ENV’s WSPA-funded Wildlife Crime Hotline.

Although ENV officers immediately contacted wildlife authorities, who confirmed the illegal incarceration of the bears, the owner’s past as a powerful local official made it difficult to secure their rescue. Authorities in the area were unwilling to confront the ‘farmer’, who was still well-known.

Perseverance pays off

In the meantime, ENV persuaded a local radio station that was illegally promoting the bear owner’s products to cease its advertisements, and secured the removal of a billboard promoting his bile outside the bear ‘farm’. Yet it was only in May this year, after three years of ENV’s determined campaigning, that the Nam Dinh People’s Committee ordered officials to persuade the owner to release the bears. He finally relented after months of pressure.

“This case dates back way before my time at ENV,” Ms. Lan Anh, ENV’s Major Crimes Officer, said. “I can see the enormous amount of work that went into getting these three bears, but I can say that everything we did was worth it, when we see the bears transferred to friendly hands and heading for the sanctuary at Tam Dao.”

The bears are now safe and sound and will spend the rest of their days free from cruelty in the Animals Asia Bear Sanctuary at Tam Dao.

Find out more about WSPA’s bear farming work.

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