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).
14 September 2011: A team of seven from the Vietnam rescue centre travelled south-east of Hanoi to take custody of three un-chipped bears found on a farm and subject to a confiscation order by government officials.
One female and two male moon bears were recovered from the farm, located in Hai Hau District, Nam Dinh Province, about 180km south east of Hanoi. As this was the first time the team had worked with the Nam Dinh Forest Protection Department (FPD), they were accompanied by a retired Central FPD official to make introductions and assist with the handover.
The three bears are housed in single cages, kept in a small shed behind the rural farm building.
The bears have marks on their heads from constant bar-rubbing in distress over the years.
The rescue was delayed by two weeks, as the government continued to discuss the situation with the farm owner in order to have him accept the enforcement of the confiscation order, as he was acting outside the law having un-chipped bears on his premises.
Nam Dinh FPD negotiated the peaceful transfer of the bears, and to avoid any misunderstandings or problems on the day, turned out in good numbers to support the rescue, providing rangers and officials on-site. The Nam Dinh FPD Director also travelled to the farm to personally oversee the transfer of the bears.
Local officials were very helpful in enforcing the law once they became aware of this illegal farm. Villagers at the site during the rescue advised that there had been a sign outside the farm advertising bile for sale and it was common knowledge in the area. However, with the local FPD covering over 300,000 households in an area of over 200km square, with only a handful of staff, it's not surprising that small, remote operations like this take some time to find.
Each bear is anaesthetised and given an initial examination to check their health and prioritise for follow-up care.
The bears are carried out of the farm and down the 300m road to Animals Asia's truck.
This particular action was in fact prompted by a tip-off to Environment Nature Vietnam (ENV) and the information was passed on to the local FPD who acted quickly and had the sign removed to immediately stop the bile promotion, as negotiations began to ensure the closure of the farm. Without this local assistance, it is likely the farm would have remained unchallenged.
According to the bear farm, the bears are approximately eight years old but look much smaller for their age and they are not in good condition. It was a difficult rescue, with the bear house being about 300m from the village road, meaning the bears had to be carried out to the truck through a large, curious crowd of onlookers and school-children.
However, all went well and after their brief health-checks, all three bears were transferred safely and readied for the road home to the rescue centre.
Each bear is transferred to a secure cage for transport to the rescue centre at Tam Dao.
The rescue was instigated by a tip-off to authorities and attracted a lot of local interest.
Veterinary Surgeon Kirsty, Vet Nurse Rae, External Affairs Officer Dr. The, Education Officer Huong, Bear Team members Phu and Tinh and Vietnam Director Tuan.