Bears face prolonged wait for return to the wild

VietNamNet Bridge – The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao, Vinh Phuc Province has successfully rescued many bears, but faces challenges in their rehabilitation and their eventual release into the wild.


Bear Rescue Centre, illegal bear bile farms, Tam Dao National Park

Andrew lost an eye and arm


Animal Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre currently cares for 139 bears which have been rescued from illegal bear bile farms. Bears are often caged at the farms before their digestive bile is forcibly extracted to be sold for use in traditional medicine.

Most of the rescued bears have severe injuries and disabilities with four completely blind, two with missing eyes and 17 with amputated limbs. A bear named Andrew suffered from a damaged gallbladder, a missing arm and an eye before he was rescued in 2010. Zebedee had his nose badly burnt while he was still a cub. Before the rescue in 2009, a bad diet had destroyed most of his teeth and doctors had to cut out the damaged gallbladder.


Bear Rescue Centre, illegal bear bile farms, Tam Dao National Park

Many bears have severe injuries

Even though the demand for bear bile has fallen 61% in the past five years, the campaign to protect and release bears into the wild still faces many challenges.

No cub has been born in the centre so Dr. Tuan Bendixsen said they wanted to release the bears into their natural environment but this was next to impossible given the large numbers of people still poaching these glorious animals.

"We have a lot of old and disabled and severely injured bears. They would die quickly in the wild," he said.

The centre is planning to release healthy bears into the wild but this will need careful consideration.


Bear Rescue Centre, illegal bear bile farms, Tam Dao National Park

The centre wants to eventually release bears into the wild

The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, located in Tam Dao National Park, aims to rescue more bears and raise people's awareness to reduce the use of bear bile.

On September 21, the Animals Asia Foundation and Vietnam Traditional Medicine Association signed a co-operation agreement to end the usage of bear bile in traditional medicine in Vietnam by 2020. The two sides will publish a book and build a curriculum to teach herbalists about 32 alternative medicinal plants of bear bile, along with setting up medicinal herb gardens in Vietnam.

DTriNews/VNA

Bear Rescue Centre, illegal bear bile farms, Tam Dao National Park
 
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