Black bear enjoys freedom after 10 years behind bars in Vietnam

By Staff reporters    May 10, 2018 | 02:57 pm GMT+7
Black bear enjoys freedom after 10 years behind bars in Vietnam
Hai Chan (Two Paws), named because she only has two left, lies among grass at Ninh Binh Bear Rescue Center in northern Vietnam. Photo by Four Paws/Bogdan Baraghin

Having been locked in a tiny cage and malnourished, the bear is spending better days at a rescue center.

Seven months after being rescued from a bear bile farm in northern Vietnam, an Asian black bear is gradually learning to adapt to a free life.

Hai Chan (Two Paws), thus named because her two other paws had been amputated by the farm's owner to make bear paw wine, believed to be a health-boosting tonic in Chinese medicine, was released from the “hellish” farm by Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization, in November last year.

She was held captive in a tiny and dirty metal cage for 10 years and suffered from malnutrition and the excruciating bile extraction process.

The bear is under the care of veterinarians and a keeper at a new bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh Province, two hours south of Hanoi.

"Hai Chan is doing well," said a source from Four Paws in Vietnam.

She received the latest health check last month, which showed her gallbladder has well recovered, the source said.

Hai Chan is held captive for 10 years in a small cage at a bear bile farm in Ninh Binh Province.

This was how life looked life for 10 years for Hai Chan. Photo by Four Paws/Bogdan Baraghin

Leaving the cage behind, Hai Chan can now roam on green grass after six weeks of treatment and is getting used to the semi-natural environment.

The trading of bile from living bears is considered illegal in parts of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam where it has been used as a remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for decades.

However, the practice shows no sign of abating, prompting the government to team up with non-profit animal organizations like Four Paws to take stronger action to end the savage tradition.

The organization has also launched an international campaign to urge animal lovers worldwide to sign a petition to encourage the Vietnamese government to put an end to bear bile farming.

Vietnam banned commercial bear bile extraction in 2005, but bile farming remains a problem after more than a decade. Vietnam's government signed an agreement last July to work with animal activists to shut down all bear bile farms and free the remaining 1,000 bears stuck in captivity by 2020.

A Four Paws expert examines Hai Chan. She has lost two front paws to the special bear paw wine demand.

A Four Paws expert examines Hai Chan. She has lost two front paws to the special bear paw wine demand. Photo by Four Paws/Bogdan Baraghin

 
 
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