QUANG NINH (VNS) — All bears being raised in captivity in Quang Ninh Province have to be transferred to the Tam Dao Bear Rescue Centre in the Vinh Phuc Province by the end of next month, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry (MARD) ordered yesterday.
The Voice of Viet Nam website said the order was given after a meeting with the Quang Ninh People's Committee and other agencies that sought ways to improve bear protection.
Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that by the end of May all households raising bears in the northern province would have to complete transferring the animals to the rescue centre.
He also ordered that all captive bears in the Bai Tu Long National Park are transferred to the rescue centre by the end this month.
Provincial authorities should continue implementing an order on the immediate rescue of captive bears issued by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai last March, Tuan said.
He asked the authorities to tighten supervision and strictly punish all violations of the current regulations on wildlife preservation and protection.
MARD has asked the Tam Dao Bear Rescue Centre to bear the costs and ensure favourable conditions for the transfer and care of the bears.
After receiving a report last month from a private farm owner in the province's Ha Long City on the death of four captive bears in his custody, autopsies concluded that they had died of acute pneumonia and inflammatory bowel disease.
Inspectors from the provincial Forest Protection Sub-Department have filed a report on the deaths and taken follow-up steps. The report said that with the recent deaths, plus the death of four other bears on a farm in January, the number of bears in captivity has fallen from several dozen to only five.
Local officials have said that the ongoing spate of bear deaths began in 2014, with 106 died. So far this year, dozens more have died.
Earlier reports have said that even after over-exploiting the bears for years, taking bile from their gall bladder that tourists from certain countries flocked to consume, farm owners were not willing to hand the exhausted animals over to the authorities for care. — VNS