14 March 2019 – Another success against the cruel keeping of bears in Vietnam: The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS rescued a total of five Asiatic black bears from three different bear farms on 11th and 12th March. After their successful rescue, the only thing that still separated the animals from their new life at FOUR PAWS owned BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, was the 48-hour journey from the the south to the north of the country. Despite the successful rescue mission, FOUR PAWS still has much work to do: The demand for bear bile for allegedly curative purposes is still high in Asia, although there are alternatives. In Vietnam, around 800 bears on bear farms continue to suffer under the most horrible conditions.
FOUR PAWS succeeded in rescuing five former bile bears - Keo, Lim, Dieu, San and Khoai Lang - from the Vietnamese provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai. After the bears had been examined before the long transfer, the team travelled over 1,600 kilometres in a 40-hour journey to bring the animals to their new home, BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh.
“We are happy that we could free all five bears from their cages. The first medical checks have revealed some health problems, but we are certain we can treat them conservatively in the next few weeks at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh. Bear Keo was lying depressed in her cage when we arrived. Her medical examination showed that she must have suffered from massive pain. Keo’s teeth are in horrible condition and she suffers from severe inflammation of the liver and gall bladder. Bear San suffers from massive hair loss due to the cruel and unhygienic keeping conditions. The condition of the gall bladders of all examined bears shows that they had to endure regular bile extractions”
says Dr Johanna Painer, veterinarian at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine, who accompanied the rescues and transfer
Unresolved deaths on bear farm
FOUR PAWS had originally planned to rescue seven bile bears from Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam and bring them to the sanctuary. Tragic circumstances, however, thwarted the plan, with four bears dying within a week on the same farm under yet unknown circumstances. FOUR PAWS now calls on the Vietnamese authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the cause of death. Bear owners have been killing their animals time and again to capitalise on their organs one last time. Should this be the case with the four deceased bears, FOUR PAWS demands a strict crackdown on those responsible.
Sanctuary will offer space for a total of 100 bears
At the sanctuary, all five rescued bears can now recover from their past suffering. Twelve other bears are already enjoying their new life in its natural environment. Once all construction work has been completed, BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh will cover 10 hectares of land and provide space for up to 100 rescued bears. Built according to modern standards, the sanctuary has its own veterinary clinic, a quarantine station, two bear houses, and four outdoor enclosures. Since its official opening on 7th March 2019, locals and tourists from around the world are able to see how formerly tortured farm bears are gradually regaining their natural instincts and living bear-friendly lives. In the spacious open-air enclosures, the bears have access to ponds, trees, climbing and hiding places to pass the time. The sanctuary not only represents a new home for former bile bears, it is also intended to promote animal and species conservation in Vietnam as an educational and awareness-raising centre.
MJ LourensHead of Communication
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Issued on behalf of: Fiona Miles, Director South Africa
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects focus on stray dogs and cats as well as pets, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for distressed animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org