Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Enhancing rescue centres’ capacity is one of the most critical aspects of efforts to put an end to the bear bile farming industry in Việt Nam, experts emphasised at a forum yesterday.
Initiated by World Animal Protection (WAP), the third “Asiatic Black Bear Forum: Sharing experiences of bear bile farming management and keeping bears in the wild” held in Hà Nội follows two previous efforts in China to become a platform for wildlife experts, non-government organisations, state agencies and related forces to discuss bear protection policies and solutions.
Việt Nam was a hotspot of bear bile farming in the 2000s. However, over the past 13 years, thanks to cooperation between the Government and wildlife protection organisations, the number of farmed bears has decreased from more than 2000 in the period of 2006 to 2012 to about 1000 in 2017.
Despite positive signs, according to Nguyễn Mạnh Hiệp from the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry, there are several challenges, including improving living conditions at rescue centres, especially in the southern region, and encouraging bear farm owners to hand over bears to the Government.
Representatives of South Korea’s National Assembly and Green Korea United Organisation (GKU) presented policies for combating the bear bile farming industry in their country. Their sterilisation programmes to ensure no new bear was born at bear farms were completed in early 2017. As of May 2017, there were only 660 sterilised bears captive at 36 farms. The progress has been made thanks to the advocacy by WAP and GKU towards the South Korea government and bear farm owners in the past 14 years.
Jung-mi Lee, South Korea’s National Assembly member, stressed the importance of the cooperation of public and private sectors in addressing bear bile farming.
“I think in South Korea and other countries including Việt Nam, people’s awareness of protecting animals is rising. Therefore, it is important for us to make bear farmers understand the significance of wildlife preservation beyond profits made from the bear bile trade,” she said.
Lê Việt Dũng, deputy head of Đồng Nai Province Forest Rangers, raised the idea of a safari which is large enough to receive, take care of and create a semi-wild environment for rescued bears.
“Because even sterilisation may be considered a violation against bears,” he said.
Đồng Nai Province is one of the localities, including Hà Nội, Hải Phòng City and Bình Phước Province, implementing microchipping programmes developed by WAP in farmed bear management. The number of farmed bears here dropped from 163 to 91.
Karanvir Kukreja from WAP said that innovations in the new microchipping programmes allowed experts to evaluate conditions of bears without using anesthesia. Moreover, WAP in collaboration with Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) and Four Paws developed a detailed blueprint to put an end to bear bile farming. — VNS