HA NOI — Several bear farms in northeastern Quang Ninh Province's Ha Long City still cater to South Korean tourists who buy fresh bile taken from live animals despite a clamp down.
|A tour bus takes tourists to the Dat Viet bear farm in Ha Long City on August 30, 2011. Bear farms still cater to Asian tourists despite a clampdown on the sale of bear bile. — Photo Courtesy of ENV
According to surveillance operations by the local NGO, Environment Nature Viet Nam (ENV), photos show tour buses defiantly taking tourists to bear farms from August to January.
ENV officer Tran Viet Hung told Viet Nam News that in one investigation, although they could not approach the tourists inside the farms due to strict security, they followed them to their hotels and Noi Bai Airport to confirm the purpose of their visits.
The provincial People's Committee on December 30 sent a dispatch to relevant agencies ordering them to take "necessary measures" on the ENV report.
However, according to Hung, so far no agency had yet contacted his office.
The question of bear-farm tourism in Ha Long City was first raised in December 2007 when environmental police discovered 80 unregistered bears at six farms.
News footage aired in October 2010 on a Korean television channel showed Koreans standing by as bile was extracted from a bear.
In 2008 and 2009, ENV documented more than 100 tourist buses taking about 1,500 Korean tourists to bear farms.
The trade in bear products is in direct violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of the Wild. — VNS