On Friday, 19 September, our Vietnam team set out on a 10 hour rescue mission to bring 4 more bears to safety. They drove over 470km south to Phu Mat National Park, Nghe An Province where the bears were waiting, having being confiscated earlier in the year from bear farms in the area. All were unregistered and un-microchipped.
The group includes 2 sun bears - 1 male and 1 female, and 2 male moon bears. This vile industry does not discriminate in its abuse of bears and across Asia, sun bears can also be victims of the bile trade. The park officials did not have much information on the bears except that they were new arrivals on the farms and had most likely been smuggled in from Laos, which shares a border with Nghe An Province.
Our first glimpse of the sun and moon bears in their holding area.
Two sun bears and one moon bear sharing space.
One moon bear stands alone.
Our Vietnam Director, Tuan Bendixsen describes the rescue:
“The sun bears and the bigger moon bear were kept together in one large holding with the other moon bear alone in a separate holding. It was a difficult rescue as we could not get the truck through the park gate and thus had to park it at least 500m away from the holding facility. The first bear was anaethesised by the government vet and we carried it to the truck but in the interests of safety we decided it was best to take the remaining bears out in our transport cages. We wheeled them to the truck and then manually lifted the transport cage onto the truck. All hands were needed to get the cages on to the truck, and we were lucky to have extra help from a friend of Duc’s who works in the area but spent the day with us. It took almost 4 hours for the rescue and we waited another 4 hours to make sure all the bears were fully recovered before leaving. The trip back was very good and we got back at 6.30am on Sunday morning.”
We are delighted to have added these 4 new bears to our happy troop in Vietnam, and have now rescued a total of 21 bears at the request of the Forestry Protection Department (FPD). We are still in negotiations with the FPD to receive a large number of bears from bear farms, and hope to have some more news on this soon.
In the meantime, we will update you on these 4 new family members as soon as they have settled in and our vet team and bear managers have had time to assess them.
A forlorn little sun bear waits to be rescued.
The first bear is anaethesised and carried to the truck.
The remaining bears are each transferred to the truck by cage.
The transport cages had to be manually loaded onto the truck.
With the bears safely on board and confirmed fit, the truck is readied for the journey home.