Sep 26, 2011
Following a long three-year battle, WSPA’s partner in Vietnam, Environment for Nature Vietnam (ENV), has secured the release of three bears, saving them from a life of suffering on an illegal bear bile “farm”.
In April 2008, a concerned local resident reported the small, unlicensed “farm” in the northern province of Nam Dinh on ENV’s WSPA-funded Wildlife Crime Hotline.
Although ENV officers immediately contacted wildlife authorities, who confirmed the illegal incarceration of the bears, the owner’s past as a powerful local official made it difficult to secure their rescue. Authorities in the area were unwilling to confront the “farmer,” who was still well-known.
In the meantime, ENV persuaded a local radio station that was illegally promoting the bear owner’s products to cease its advertisements, and secured the removal of a billboard promoting his bile outside the bear “farm”. Yet it was only in May this year, after three years of ENV’s determined campaigning, that the Nam Dinh People’s Committee ordered officials to persuade the owner to release the bears. He finally relented after months of pressure.
“This case dates back way before my time at ENV,” said Ms. Lan Anh, ENV’s Major Crimes Officer. “I can see the enormous amount of work that went into getting these three bears and, now that we see the bears transferred to friendly hands and heading for the sanctuary at Tam Dao, I can say that everything we did was worth it.”
The bears are now safe and sound and will spend the rest of their days free from cruelty in the Animals Asia Bear Sanctuary at Tam Dao.