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Achievements of 2005
WSPA works in cooperation with more than 600 member societies across the globe to produce positive results for animals. The following are a number of successes we have achieved in 2005 with the help of our member organizations. To encourage Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners not to prescribe bear bile, WSPA produced a report documenting herbal alternatives that can be used to treat ailments without harming animals. WSPA deployed several emergency veterinary teams to Pakistan to bring relief to the animals affected by a devastating earthquake. WSPA funding helped send 80 Canadian vets and vet techs to Louisiana to help with the triage and care of animals following Hurricane Katrina.

Dancing bears: prevention not cure
Having trained over 800 forest department staff in anti-poaching methods, WSPA is focusing on crime-prevention and awareness in our efforts to end bear dancing. From finding and removing captive cubs from miserable lives as dancing bears, we have moved to ensuring they never leave the forest. While seizing captive cubs has been successful – the number of dancing bears performing in India has dropped from 400 to approximately 150 since 2005 – anti-poaching training helps prevent bears ever being captured. Alongside training in the prevention of wildlife crime, WSPA has provided an additional 375 anti-poaching personnel with equipment including flashlights and waterproofs.

Photo feature: protecting Tanzania’s elephants
When they eat or trample crops and injure humans, the reprisals can be swift and deadly. But violent conflict doesn’t keep the elephants at a safe distance from the villages for long, and results in animal cruelty. In 2008, WSPA managed to protect Turkey’s bears from the guns and traps of farmers by reducing their access to the hives that provide a valuable honey crop. Seeing their hives prosper unmolested, the farmers became less hostile to the bears around their land and became reluctant to reach for their guns. These kinds of low cost solutions can be adopted by local people with ease, meaning they stop conflict long term in a way that killing individual bears or elephants can’t.

More good news for Vietnam's bears
After lengthy consultation with WSPA, the Vietnamese Government has introduced improved legislation for the protection and management of captive bears in Vietnam. This is a great sign that the government is sticking to its commitment to phase out bear bile farms in Vietnam and ensure that no more bears are introduced into this cruel industry. In a landmark agreement last year, the government of Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WSPA and began to gradually phase out bear bile farming in their country. The new regulations aim to further protect Vietnam‘s national bear population from rampant hunting for their galls and other organs.

WSPA launches new website to educate Traditional Asian Medicine users on bear farming
More than 12,000 endangered Asiatic black bears are cruelly confined in bear farms, facilities at which many are kept in tiny cages and their bile is regularly extracted and sold for use in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM). WSPA has encouraged traditional medicine groups worldwide to support a statement agreeing that there are good herbal alternatives to bear bile - 71 traditional Asian medicine associations from eight countries have already expressed their support. The letters sent to retailers will include a link for retailers to learn more about bear farming and obtain a template letter (in English or Chinese) that they can use when contacting Chinese companies about their bear bile policies.

WSPA moves new resident to bear sanctuary
The villagers who discovered the bear could trace no signs of its mother and they captured it with a view to sell it in the local market. Maylu was handed to local wildlife officials by the army, and the wildlife department did their best to care for the distressed bear. Talks began at the wildlife department of moving Maylu to a zoo – at this point WSPA heard about Maylu and quickly set the wheels in motion to receive the bear into the renowned Kund Park Bear Sanctuary. Following examination by WSPA veterinary staff the wildlife officials released the bear into WSPA custody and plans were laid to move the bear to Kund Park near the Peshawar region of Pakistan.

Balkasar open for bears: Pakistan’s new WSPA-funded bear sanctuary
The sanctuary will also provide a refuge for the remaining 60-70 Asian black bears in Pakistan who are still being used in bear baiting, a cruel and illegal blood sport. Balkasar Sanctuary sits away from flood plains and close to the country’s capital, Islamabad. Its opening demonstrates the dedication and commitment of the BRC and Kund Park staff who - despite losing their homes and possessions, like so many Pakistanis - have remained committed to the cause. Many of the staff members and their families have even moved to Balkasar to rebuild their lives, as well as the lives of the bears in their care. Those bears will be brought to the Balkasar Sanctuary to live out their lives in a natural and peaceful environment.

WSPA urges Vietnam to stay on track to end bears suffering in bear farms
The fate of 80 illegally held and endangered Asiatic Black bears hangs in the balance as Vietnamese Authorities decide whether or not to remove them from cruel bear farms. In 2005 Vietnam announced their intention to phase out bear farming and introduced a law that stated any bears found without microchips in bear farms will be confiscated. Gosling added “An alarming new discovery has caused us even more concern as there seems to be a growing tourist industry around bear farming in the Quang Ninh province with tourists visiting the cruel farms to consume bear bile and meat and see demonstrations of the extraction process.

Sun bear added to Red List of Threatened Species
In addition to their numbers falling rapidly in the wild, tens of thousands endure pain and suffering in bear farms across south east Asia and by being forced to dance and fight for human entertainment. WSPA’s report, “From Cage to Consumer" reveals that the availability of farmed bear bile and products containing it are further driving demand for wild bear products, with traders stating that wild bear gall is of a much higher quality than farmed bear bile. WSPA investigators recently gathered evidence that shows bears in bile farms in some Asian countries are being poached from the wild, despite legislation that should prevent such trade.

Korea displays commitment to end bear farming
The approval of this proposal is a compelling sign that the Korean government recognizes the need to end bear farming. Green Korea United and WSPA aim to work with officials from the Ministry of Environment to ensure the research project obtains all the evidence needed and that the research phase is completed as quickly as possible. A logical next step to this proposal would be to establish a ban on captive breeding of bears, meaning that no new bears will be born into a life of suffering on Korean bear farms. WSPA would like to see this happen as soon as possible and we hope to work with government officials for this.

Two cubs rescued as 100,000 Vietnamese reject bear bile
WSPA partner Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) recently celebrated two important milestones in its work to protect bears – first, the rescue of two bear cubs and, second, receiving its 100,000th pledge against bear bile use. Bear bile continues to be used in some Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) to treat conditions such as reducing fever, protecting the liver and improving eyesight – despite there being more than 65 herbal alternatives available. Since that time, WSPA has been working in partnership with ENV to help support its public engagement campaign to end the demand for bear bile and close down the bear farming industry for good.

Three surviving bears rescued from Pakistan floods
Residents of the villages surrounding the Kund Park sanctuary spotted these bears and alerted BRC staff to their presence. Despite the inaccessible roads and vague information on the location of the bears, staff from BRC bravely ventured into the flooded areas in search of these bears. Once they located the bears, they managed to tranquillize each bear and move it into a transport cage. Once sedated and in the transport cages, the bears – accompanied by a BRC veterinarian – were transported to Balkasar on trucks. The Balkasar sanctuary is still very much under construction, as it was designed to house bears that are yet to be rescued as part of WSPA and BRC’s continuing campaign against bear baiting.

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A stray dog that has survived flooding, Colombia