Vietnam to rescue 1,000 bears in bid to end bile trade

July 19, 2017
Vietnam has agreed to rescue more than 1,000 bears from illegal farms across the country to end the traditional medicine trade in the creatures' bile

Vietnam agreed Wednesday to rescue more than 1,000 bears from illegal farms across the country, in a move to end the traditional medicine trade in the creatures' bile.

Though bile farms are already outlawed in Vietnam, are still captured and caged in illicit facilities where their bile is extracted using invasive and painful techniques.

Vietnam's Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) and non-profit group Animals Asia signed an agreement Wednesday to rescue all remaining bears from farms, committing to end bile trade and close all facilities within five years.

"This is a truly historic day," Animals Asia CEO Jill Robinson at the signing in Hanoi, adding that the decision "will lead to the definitive end to bear bile farming here in Vietnam".

Bear bile farming has been outlawed in Vietnam since 1992. But many bile farms use a legal loophole allowing them to raise the as pets.

There are about 1,200 bears in captivity in Vietnam today, down from more than 4,000 in 2005, caged in more than 400 bear farms across the country.

Animals Asia estimates it will cost up to $20 million to rescue and build enough sanctuaries to house the bears, and called on donors, companies and the government to pitch in.

A blind moon bear rests at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre near Tam Dao National Park in Vinh Phuc province, north of Hanoi
"We cannot do this by ourselves, the government needs to take responsibility for the wildlife in the country," said Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director for Animals Asia.

Officials said funding is the main hurdle to rescuing the bears and putting an end to the trade.

"We face difficulties finding funds to prevent and stop the hunting and rescue of wild animals," VNFOREST deputy director Cao Chi Cong said.

Bendixsen warned that could move into neighbouring Laos or Cambodia, and urged countries to adhere to an international convention that bans cross-border bear and bile trading.

Wednesday's agreement follows an announcement in 2015 from Vietnam's Traditional Medicine Association to remove bear bile from its list of sanctioned prescriptions by 2020.

The bears are often kept in small cages, and their bile is 'free dripped' via a hole in the animal's gall bladder or a catheter. Many are starved, dehydrated, wounded and psychologically scarred when they are rescued.

Bear bile contains an acid which can help treat liver and gall bladder illnesses, though effective herbal alternatives are available.

Explore further: Moon bears rescued from bile farms in Vietnam

Related Stories

Moon bears rescued from bile farms in Vietnam

June 25, 2015

Freed from captivity in tiny metal cages, seven long-suffering Asiatic moon bears have been rescued on bile farms in northern Vietnam, as efforts to end the illegal trade are boosted.

Pet bears to be returned to wild in Vietnam

March 5, 2012

Seven Asiatic black bears kept as pets in small cages will be prepared for a return to the wild in Vietnam after their owner decided they were too big for captivity, an official said Monday.

Chinese scientists call for ban on bear farming

April 26, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Three Chinese scientists, Xia Sheng, Haolin Zhang and Qiang Weng, all from Beijing Forest University, have published a correspondence paper in the science journal Nature, calling for a ban on the practice of ...

Reprieve for bear rescue centre in Vietnam

January 16, 2013

A sanctuary for bears rescued from the Asian bile trade which has been at the centre of a high-profile land dispute has been spared eviction by Vietnam's government, its director said.

Bear bile-extracting farms near collapse in SKorea

February 6, 2014

Several bears lie on top of each other, as still as teddy bears, as they gaze out past rusty iron bars. Others pace restlessly. The ground below their metal cages is littered with feces, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, dog food and ...

Recommended for you

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

Revealing the rules behind virus scaffold construction

March 19, 2019

A team of researchers including Northwestern Engineering faculty has expanded the understanding of how virus shells self-assemble, an important step toward developing techniques that use viruses as vehicles to deliver targeted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.