Two moon bears enjoy freedom after years in captivity

By Nguyen Quy   March 25, 2021 | 01:00 am PT
Two moon bears enjoy freedom after years in captivity
Staff of Four Paws examine one of the two bears rescued in Son La Province, March 23, 2021. Photo courtesy of Four Paws.
Two endangered moon bears were taken to a sanctuary Wednesday after many years locked up inside a basement in northern Son La Province.

The bears, weighing 160 kilograms and 130 kilograms, were rescued by Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization, Tuesday after their captor voluntarily agreed to transfer them to the bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh Province, two hours south of Hanoi.

The handover came following calls from local authorities in hopes of finding a better environment for the two bears.

According to the captor, both bears had been locked up in a cage inside the basement for many years.

The bears, Xuan (Spring) and Mo (Dream), were given anesthetic before rescue staff checked their health. They were then transferred into a truck for their 10-hour journey to the sanctuary.

The Ninh Binh bear sanctuary, covering 10 hectares, opened in 2017. It has enough space for 44 bears. The facility receives and cares for bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade or those donated by bear farmers.

Vietnam banned commercial bear bile extraction in 2005, but more than a decade later the illegal practice remains widespread. Bear bile is typically extracted from a moon bear's gallbladder and used in traditional Chinese medicine in Vietnam.

However, according to a Four Paws Viet survey, there are still about 450 bears, mainly Asian black bears, surviving in critical condition at 150 private farms across Vietnam.

go to top