Ricky and Joey
On 2 September 2012 the local police in Than Uyen District in Lai Chau Province, Vietnam spotted a motorbike in a remote village carrying two men with a cane basket.Suspicious, they stopped the bike and found two moon bear cubs in the basket. The men were arrested and told the police that they had bought the cubs for USD 1,500 and were going to resell them to an unknown buyer from the bordering province of Lao Cai. Lai Chau is approximately 450km north west of Hanoi and is a frontier province sharing much of its border with China, making it likely the cubs were on their way to a bear bile farm.
Two weeks later the cubs were transported to the Asia Moon Bear Rescue Centre at Tam Dao National Park. Renamed Ricky and Joey (originally nicknamed Lai Chau and Sin Ho), they are estimated to be around three to four months old.
On December 13, Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary received another a moon bear that had been destined for the bear bile trade. Nicknamed Bon Bon, he was confiscated from a trader by Vietnamese police in Sa Thay district of Kon Tum Province, close to the Cambodian border. At the time of rescue the bear weighed less than 30kg.
Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam Director, Animals Asia said that there is a lot of work to be done to rehabilitate Bon Bon after the psychological damage he suffered. He is timid and nervous, especially when there are people around and he roars when bear workers enter the quarantine area. He also displays a number of disturbing repetitive behaviors and refuses to eat whenever humans are present.
Animal Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, on the edge of Tam Dao National Park is under threat of eviction (see ANIMAL POST “MOON BEAR UPDATE” November 29, 2012) from a government official who is attempting to confiscate the land on which the sanctuary is situated in order to build his own wildlife park. The Animals Asia Foundation is waiting with baited breath for the Prime Minister to make what will hopefully be the right decision and that they be allowed to remain where they are.
Closure of the rescue center would mean that more than 100 bears, rescued from bear bile farms and smugglers, would lose their homes. Seventy-seven Vietnamese staff would lose their jobs. Animals Asia would lose $2 million worth of investment in building and development.
Bear Farming Resolution
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress has passed a resolution addressing the issue of bear bile farming, encouraging Korea and Vietnam to continue their efforts towards ending bear farming and calling for states to enact measure to work with the IUCN to close down illegal bear farms that do not comply with regulations, issue no further licenses or permits for such farms, prevent an increase in bear numbers on existing farms, ensure no wild-caught bears are added to the farms, and to conduct research into bear bile substitutes and establish a monitoring system to track trends in wild bear populations. The resolution also calls for a scientifically independent analysis into whether all these points have been followed—most notably, how bear farming affects the conservation of wild bears.
To donate to Animals Asia campaign to end bear bile farming CLICK HERE.