years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Beautiful land outside Tam Dao National Park, where the AAF Bear Sanctuary will be built
AAF team and Vietnamese Govt. officials discuss plans for the sanctuary
Things are moving fast in Vietnam - with the Government fully and publicly committed to ending bear farming, this is an exciting and challenging time!
Following over 7 years of working hard to get to this crucial point in the Vietnam Bear Rescue, an MOU was finally signed between the FPD (Forestry Protection Department)/MARD (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) and Animals Asia on 16th November 2005, which agreed to build a permanent Sanctuary and rescue 200 farmed Moon Bears.
Just this week we hosted another visit by the Vietnam Government to our China Bear Rescue Sanctuary in Chengdu and were immensely proud to show them our showcase for bear protection where tens of thousands of visitors from across China are joining our call for bear farming to end. Having been given this same opportunity in Vietnam, we are now working overtime with experts in Hanoi to complete the new Sanctuary in the shortest possible time.
After much searching, we also finally found the perfect land for the bears! Nestled on the perimeter of the Tam Dao National Park, the land is breathtakingly beautiful as it extends for miles in a hundred different hues of green and a backdrop of magnificent mountain and pine forest. Incredibly, the land also meets all the stringent requirements we need - including: easy traveling distance to Hanoi and the airport; appropriate technical requirements including electricity, water, flat ground; scope for expansion in the future; ideal ex-farmland and almost immediate availability.
At the Tam Dao National Park Authority offices, we were thrilled to meet an old friend, "Ben", who we had originally met in 1999 at a sad and run down facility in Hanoi. Although we were unable to help him at the time, we never forgot this sweet and friendly Moon Bear, and were now overjoyed to give him some melon as a special treat after our meetings in Tam Dao! Aged approximately 9 years old today, Ben now lives in a small enclosure in the National Park. But before lovely Ben and other bear farming victims can take bear sized steps to freedom into a world they thought they would never see again, there is a huge amount of work to do!
We are currently working on an agreement with the Government regarding appropriate compensation to relocate the families currently renting the land, which should take approximately 3 months to complete. We are also now following procedures to register with Paccom (People's Aid Coordinating Committee) as an NGO.
Simultaneously we're compiling a detailed Project Proposal and Budget to FPD and MARD, which will be submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, who then work with all the various other Ministries involved to approve the project. Formal approval is expected to take 3 months, following which it will then be finally submitted for approval by the Prime Minister of Vietnam.
At the same time, the land is being surveyed, and we're working with local consultants on an exciting Project Master plan for constructing a Sanctuary for 200 bears - with the potential for expansion if required. This will be submitted to Architects and the Building Department, which is then passed on to other departments for approval - e.g. fire services, city planning and various local councils etc.
Once that's complete we can start to build our rescue centre, commencing with initial quarantine and vet facilities including surgery, preparation rooms, rehabilitation area to release and integrate bears before final release into their cozy dens and natural enclosures. We anticipate that our first group of bears will arrive later this year and are working hard to achieve this as soon as possible.
Our new project in Vietnam gives us the privilege once again of helping 200 bears - including Ben - who are our inspiration, our proof that bear farming is wrong and our voice for ending it everywhere!
Gail Cochrane, AAF's Veterinary Director, feeds Ben a favorite Moon Bear treat - melon!
Soon to be the AAF office at Tam Dao National Park Authority HQ
We never forget that bears like this sad Moon Bear on a farm, are awaiting our rescue