Can Tho provincial authorities, in collaboration with Free the Bears, transferred an Asiatic black bear that was voluntarily given up by its owner, to the Cat Tien Bear Rescue Center. This bear was the last captive bear held in Can Tho, marking Can Tho as the 22nd bear farm free province in Vietnam.
This bear transfer, facilitated by ENV, is the third undertaken this year, and comes as a result of coordinated efforts by both government and its partner organizations to expedite an end to bear farming in Vietnam.
Mr. Nguyen Van Thang – Head of Can Tho FPD shared: “In an effort to protect wildlife in the province, Can Tho FPD worked closely with the bear owner to ensure better long-term conditions for the bear. The bear owner agreed to transfer the bear to the authorities in support of bear conservation. The collaboration of the Can Tho FPD, the bear owner and Cat Tien Bear Rescue Center is derived from the ultimate goal of expediting an end to bear farming in Vietnam.”
The transfer also represents a great leap forward in establishing bear farm free provinces by ENV and its coalition partners, World Animal Protection, Four Paws, and the Vietnamese government, who formulated a road map in 2017, pledging to bring about an end to bear farming in Vietnam.
Mrs. Nguyen Phuong Dung, Vice Director of ENV shared: “We are pleased to see the efforts of the Can Tho authorities and warmly congratulate them on successfully making Can Tho the latest bear farm free province in Vietnam. We hope that there will be further provinces following Can Tho’s example in showing their determination to transfer all their captive bears to the authorities. One more bear farm free province means one step closer to ending bear farming for good in Vietnam.”
Last month, the last two captive bears in Ninh Binh province were rescued from a bear farm and transferred to the Four Paws’ BEAR SANCTUARY in Ninh Binh. Their rescues formally ended bear bile farming in Ninh Binh.
The addition of two more bear farm free provinces signifies a growing trend in Vietnam toward bringing an end to bear farming in the country. ENV called on other provinces where bears remain in captivity to follow suit.
“It is time to increase the pressure upon bear bile farmers to give up their illegal business,” says Dung. “This can be achieved by denying the bile farmers the opportunity to profit from exploiting and selling bear bile.” Dung noted the need for strengthened efforts to monitor bile farms, enforce regulations, and punish those that are violating the law.
“Vietnam’s remaining bear bile farmers need to know that their bile business is considered a criminal enterprise that is a thing of the past, now rejected by society,” says Dung. “It is time for them to give up their bears and move on.”
A little over a decade ago, more than 4,300 bears were documented at hundreds of farms throughout the country. However, as a result of over 10 years of collective efforts, the number of bears in captivity has decreased dramatically to around 900 at the end of 2017. An increasing number of bear owners are voluntarily handing over their captive bears to the authorities, indicating a significant shift in the awareness of bear owners that bear bile farming is being consigned to the past.
More details about ENV’s campaign to bring an end to bear farming can be found at: http://envietnam.org/index.php/what-we-do/env-species-focused-campaigns/end-bear-farming-and-trade