John Walker's beautifully illustrated book, Ura's Dream

“DID YOU KNOW?” is a list we’ve compiled that includes interesting, inspiring, little known and occasionally horrifying facts about Korean Moonbears. As we examine the timeline of the trade and politics, it’s important to check out the cool and symbolic stuff that occurred along this road of hardships, victories and some wonderful contributions from the community.

1. There are 16 left. We cannot say it enough, there are 16 of these threatened species left for us to enjoy in Korea. Hence, the urgency.

2. Korea’s largest traditional medicine associations have publicly acknowledged that we do not need bear bile. That’s right, the experts have spoken, and they’re in favor of an end to the trade.

3. The Korean people have been shown to disapprove of bear bile farming to the tune of 87% (2004, Green Korea United)

4. Underground Bear farm tours are a serious problem in Vietnam, and according to Education for Nature Vietnam, Koreans are their number 1 customers. Let’s work on educating our people to change this. It is illegal to buy bear products in another country and bring them back to Korea-but many people just don’t know it.

5. At present, tourist destination Bear tree Park houses 100-150 moonbears in substandard conditions in Korea. It’s a beautifully decorated place that we dearly hope will change its views one day, as it’s got a heck of a lot of potential. We’d encourage you to visit and see these beautiful animals in the flesh, but due to its current care ethics, we’d rather you join us on one of our field trips and send your tourism dollars elsewhere for now.

6. You can support Korea’s moonbears by buying a copy of John Walker’s book, Ura’s Dream. Book 1 is called ‘Ura’s World’, and both can be found at any major Korean bookstore. In fact, every donation John makes is doubled by The Macquarie Foundation-which we think is pretty cool.

7. The foreign community in Seoul has been incredible advocates of ending bear bile farming since 2007, when Hong Kong-based moonbears.org focussed their attention on bringing the issue into the spotlight-and a job well done. English publications such as Eloquence, Seoulstyle.com, HiExpat, JoongAng Daily, The Korea Times, Groove magazine, The Seoul Writers Workshop, TBS, KBS and Arirang, BBC offered their support in English. In 2010, KBS produced a Korean documentary that made waves in the Korean community. Not bad for an issue that was scarcely known 5 years ago! Special thanks to Jeanette McDermott (Ursa Freedom Project), Abel Saenz, Lucie Evans (WSPA), The Bear Truth members, Dan Vroon, Chris Gee (WSPA) and John Cairns (Cairnsmedia.com) abroad-and so many others…we got game.

8. The Bear Truth awareness campaign (a recognized affiliate of Green Korea United) is holding it’s second street campaign in March, 2011 and all are welcome to attend in Itaewon (and sign a petition, pose for a pic, and buy a cute moonbear toy while you’re at it!) We’ll keep you posted on the date and time!

9. YOU CAN WRITE THE PRESIDENT and request an end to this trade. It’s really that simple. You can also send US your letter and we will mail it for you through our ‘BEAR WITH US’ campaign.  We’ll make sure the blue house gets your letter and provide a letterhead if you wish. Let us help you HELP US!

10. The law can change in March, 2011. In fact, we believe it will.