Last update 3/2/2012 11:23:00 AM (GMT+7)

Part 3: The call from the wild

VietNamNet Bridge – The purpose of the wildlife rescue is to give treatment, then restore their wild instincts and rehabilitate them. However, it is now difficult to find safe places for them.
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Looking at tens of bears searching for food in the semi-wild area, Duong Duy Cuong, an officer of the Cat Tien Bear Rescue Center of the Cat Tien National Park, said the bears are recovering their wild instincts. They are trained in the skills of protecting themselves, looking for food in order to get adapted to the environment later when they are rehabilitated.

“Some of them now can live in the wild already, but we don’t know where to release the bears. All the forests now seem to be dangerous for them,” he said.

The scary vestiges of people

Tran Van Quan has been working for the Cat Tien Bear Rescue Center for the last 10 years. He has to get very early in the morning to prepare food, feed the bears and then clean the cages. Therefore, Quan well understands the habits and vice of every bear.

“SunShine (the name of a bear) is slow and always amuses itself during the lunchtime; therefore, I have to feed it sooner than others. Meanwhile, Hope has lost an arm, so it is difficult to be pleased and lazy to move. I have to sooth it into obedience,” Quan said.

Hope lost one hand when it fell into the hunters’ trap. After that he was in captivity for a long time to give bear gall, therefore, it was very weak. When it was brought to the center, it suffered many diseases, while the skin ulcerated. After a time of getting care, Hope has recovered gradually.

“Hy Vong” (also means Hope) was the name Cuong gave to another bear, which also lost a hand. As the bear’s hand was seriously injured, it had to undergo a surgery where physicians cut the hand.

The officers at the center are always busy. Quan has to get up at 4 am to prepare food for the 42 bears. After that, he has to make gruel for the lunch. While bears eat, Quan and his colleagues have to hide food at some places in the semi-wild area. Once the bears go to the area, they would be able to find food themselves. This is an important way of training the bears, so that they can get adapted to the wild environment later.

Environment too dangerous for animals

Most of the bears at the center were once in captivity and they were brutally tortured by men. Therefore, when on the first days at the center, they were always angry and bawled when they saw people coming. They even tried to attack the officers of the center.

“We had to treat them with love and compassion to convert them. They can feel our love and become more friendly after a period of getting care. Female bears get sweeter, while male bears get stronger,” Quang said.

Cuong, who leads reporters to the semi-wild area, said that every day, the officers of the center have to let the bears go to the area to train them to look for food. They also have to help them move and climb as if they are in the forests. This helps them recover the natural instincts.

Cuong sadly said that it is very difficult to find the safe places to rehabilitate the bears. “We once surveyed the Cat Tien forest and discovered some places where there were the traces of bears. Naturally, Cat Tien is the place where bears can live. However, the traces have disappeared,” he said.

This shows that bears are being hunted. Releasing bears in the places means sending them to the death. “Therefore, we just rescue them, while we do not know when they will be able to return to the wild,” he said.

Source: Phap luat TPHCM