Moon bear owned by drug lord rescued in northern Vietnam

By Ngoc Thanh   June 20, 2019 | 11:50 am GMT+7

A moon bear once kept captive by a drug lord was rescued by the Animals Asia foundation in Lang Son Province Wednesday.

Moon bear owned by drug lord rescued in northern Vietnam

The bear was found in a four-square-meter metal cage at a local construction site, with just a thin cover on the top.

Its former owner was Trieu Ky Voong, a drug lord arrested by the police in May 2018. After his arrest, the bear was handed over to the authorities.

Moon bear owned by drug lord rescued in northern Vietnam - 1

Rescuers try to befriend the bear and prepare to move it to a specialized cage.

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The bear licks honey given to entice it to leave its old cage and move into a new one. It is unknown if the bear, identified as an Asian black bear, already had its bile extracted or not, said Shaun Thomson, a vet from the Bear Rescue Center Vietnam in the northern province of Vinh Phuc.

"Only when an abdominal ultrasonography and a general health checkup are performed will we know," Thomson said, adding that the bear has been in captivity for at least 14 years. 

Vietnam banned commercial bear bile extraction in 2005, but more than a decade later, it remains a problem as farmers who owned bears prior to the ban are still allowed to keep them.

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The cage where the bear was kept and the one it is to be shifted to are placed next to each other and stabilized with cables.

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A rescuer feeds the bear honey.

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The bear will be moved to the Bear Rescue Center Vietnam, four hours drive away.

"After 45 days of monitoring and health checkups, we would accustom the bear to a semi-wild environment," said Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director of Animals Asia. The organization has named the bear Solo.

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Solo is moved on to a truck. It would be supplied with food and water on the way.

Vietnam is home to both the moon bear and the sun bear, both listed as vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

 
 
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