9 bears rescue vietnam

9 captive bears rescued from 3 bear bile farms in Vietnam last week


Despite being illegal to own, Vietnamese farmers were allowed to keep previously owned bears on their bear bile farms as “pets”. Read more on their rescue here.

Bear bile extraction was made illegal in Vietnam in 2005, but farmers were allowed to keep the bears that they already owned on their farms as “pets”. This situation has provided cover for illegal bile extraction in Vietnam.

Learn more about the bear bile industry here.

Maya Pastakia, Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection said:
“This is the largest bear rescue World Animal Protection has ever supported, and this huge milestone means we are now nine bears closer to a bear-bile free Vietnam.

“Despite the strides made to end bear farming in Vietnam, hundreds of bears are still suffering a tortuous life in captivity for their bile. These nine bears were kept in tiny cages - not much larger than a telephone booth – for at least 17 years, which is when they were first microchipped. While they are the ‘lucky ones’ who are now free from cruelty, the scars from their extreme physical and psychological suffering will last their lifetime. 

“The government of Vietnam must close all remaining legal loopholes and prohibit farmers from keeping their caged bears as pets in order to end the barbaric and illegal practice of bear bile farming.” 

The rescued bears came from 3 farms

Nguyen Ngoc Tien

This owner used to keep 18 bears. In 2019 he promised he will transfer them to a sanctuary gradually, because the bears also belong to his friends. After that he transferred 4 bears in September 2019, and 4 bears in November 2020. Now he is keeping 7 bears because 3 bears died during 2019 - 2021. He agreed to transfer 4 bears this time. 

Huynh Thi My

This is a multi-captive wildlife farm including bears and tigers. The bears are kept in very poor condition, with small concrete cages. At the high tide, river water floods the path of the farm, but the bear cage floors are higher than the water level.

This farm used to keep 23 bears. They moved 10 bears to a safari in Binh Dinh province from 2019. 10 bears died during the time and now the owner has agreed to transfer the remaining 3 bears.

Vu Van Hien

The owner used to keep 4 bears then 2 bears died. He agreed to transfer the remaining 2 bears.

bear bile quote 2

We don’t know exactly how long each of these nine bears have been on their farms. But we know that each bear is a minimum of 17 years old because they were first registered and microchipped in 2005.

All bears are voluntary transfers, not confiscations, and they don’t have names (yet!)

They are being transferred to the Four Paws sanctuary in Ninh Binh.

Magdalena Scherk-Trettin, FOUR PAWS bear projects coordinator said:
“This is FOUR PAWS biggest bear rescue mission to date and we are thrilled that we can give nine more former bile bears a second chance at our species-appropriated bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh.

"Our experienced team will make sure all nine new arrivals receive all the care they need to recover from their past suffering. We already rescued 18 bears from Binh Duong province, which shows that the province is working hard towards the governmental goal to phase out bile bear farming in Vietnam.

"With every rescued bear, we are one step closer to ending bear farming in Vietnam for good. We are looking forward to the day when the last bear will be rescued from the last bear farm in Vietnam. Especially capital Hanoi needs to step up its efforts to achieve this goal.”

Help Stop Bear Bile Extraction


Our role in the rescue

We are working in partnership with the Forest Protection Department in Vietnam - a central authority in charge of forestry and wildlife (Central FPD) – for our bear microchipping and monitoring program.

Once each bear has a microchip it will be checked in about twice a year to prevent new bears from the wild entering the facilities. In addition, this program is also to convince bear farmers to give up their bears.

This rescue comes as we celebrate our 30-year anniversary working to protect bears. During this period, we have rescued and rehomed hundreds of bears around the world, designed and funded 12 bear sanctuaries globally, and worked in 25 countries to help captive bears. This is in addition to the mass sterilization initiatives, consumer campaigns, and government lobbying we have implemented. 

Read our Cruel Cures report about bear bile farming. Page 11 provides information on the work we have done in Vietnam to protect bears.

bear bile quote 2

Phuong Le Duy, Vietnam Consultant at World Animal Protection said: 
“Each time I visit a property as part of our microchipping program, my aim is to convince the owners to surrender their bears to live out the rest of their lives in a sanctuary. I remind them that they owe this to the bears, because if they hadn’t been exploited they could be living a healthy and free life in the wild. 

“Most of the bears are thin, weak and small because they are so poorly fed. Many of their fellow captive bears have not survived to make it to the sanctuary because of the horrific conditions.

“After meeting these bears in 2019, it’s rewarding to know that their owners have finally listened and can give them the peace they deserve after a lifetime of cruelty.”

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