308-pound Asian black bear rescued in Vietnam after 16 years in captivity

By An Nam   November 16, 2018 | 12:06 am PT
A woman in Ben Tre has given up a bear she kept confined for years, and it has been moved to an animal conservation center.

When Vo Thi Kim Tuyen voluntarily confessed to having a bear captive for 16 years, the Vietnam Wildlife Conservation Center immediately came around to the southern province to rescue the animal.

The Asian Black Bear is being checked up. Photo by VnExpress/ An Nam

The Asian black bear is being checked by vets. Photo by VnExpress/ An Nam

The animal weighing nearly 140 kilograms (308 lbs) has been transferred to a bear conservation facility in Ninh Binh Province in northern Vietnam, two hours south of Hanoi.

According to Ngo Thi Mai Huong, director of the center, nearly 800 bears are held captive across the country. Ben Tre Province, after Tuyen’s family’s revelation, has become only the 23rd locality in the country to be free of captive bears.

"The rescue center is willing to take in and take care of the bears and ensure they have a life close to nature," Huong said.

In August, Animals Asia Organization freed five individual Asian black bears confined on a private farm in Tien Giang Province, half an hour north of Ben Tre, for over 20 years.

The Asian black bear, or moon bear, is the most affected by bile demand and most exploited for traditional Asian medicine, and are being trapped and poached relentlessly, according to Animals Asia. 

Its ability to stand on its legs also causes it to be exploited by circuses in Vietnam and China, as fighting bears in Pakistan and dancing bears in India.

Loss of habitat and scattered population also pose major threats to its long-term survival.

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