|A female sun bear in captivity in the southern province of Tây Ninh was rescued yesterday. — Photo courtesy of Animals Asia|Viet Nam News
TÂY NINH — A female sun bear was rescued yesterday after 15 years in captivity in a border district of Tây Ninh Province in southeast Việt Nam.
Despite the species usually being captured in Việt Nam to farm bile, the keeper of this 50kg bear claimed to be keeping her as a pet.
Animals Asia voluntarily rescued the creature after receiving tips from a local traditional medicine practitioner, during a programme aiming to grow and popularise herbal plants that could substitute for bear bile in traditional remedies.
Animals Asia said the keeper of the bear, which was named Aurora, was co-operative in transferring the bear into new hands.
“We don’t know much about Aurora or her history, but she is likely to be traumatised and depressed from her extreme isolation in a barren cage for what has likely been quite a few years,” said Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen.
The Tây Ninh forest rangers unit said this is the last sun bear remaining in captivity in the province.
The veterinary doctors concluded that, despite some non-acute tooth and joint problems, the bear was fit enough to make a 1,500km journey to the Việt Nam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Đảo National Park in northern Việt Nam, where it is expected to join the community of other rescued sun bears there.
It is reported that there are 800 bears being kept in farms across the country while the wild population has dwindled to a few hundred.
Animals Asia has conducted four rescues so far this year, bringing eight bears to the northern sanctuary. It is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and forestry agencies to free all captive bears by 2022. — VNS