Moon bears released in Mekong Delta region

September 30, 2016 | 02:35 pm GMT+7
Moon bears released in Mekong Delta region
A moon bear rescued by the conservation organization Education for Nature-Vietnam in the northern province of Son La in March 2016. Ohoto by the Vietnam News Agency.

Vietnam is coming closer to eliminating bear farming across the country.

Two moon bears, also known as Asian black bears, were released after 10 years in captivity in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on Thursday, according to the conservation organization Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV).

By releasing the bears, An Giang has put an end to bear farming across the whole province.

The two animals, each weighing from 150-170 kilograms, had been held in a 10.5-square-meter cage since 2006. Their owner said that he didn’t extract bear bile for sale so he voluntarily handed over the animals to authorities.

The bears are reportedly in good health, and have been transferred to the Hon Me Rescue Center in Kien Giang, another Mekong Delta province.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, deputy director of ENV, said that another moon bear raised illegally in Phuc Tho District in Hanoi was also transferred to the organization on September 22.

“Within a week, we have rescued three bears. This is a good sign in the long battle against bear farming,” Dung said, adding that Vietnam is coming closer to eliminating bear farming across the country.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed that Vietnam still has some 1,200 bears living in captivity on 430 farms. The figure has fallen significantly from 4,300 in 2005 after the Vietnamese government imposed a ban on bear bile sales in 2006.

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