Vietnam's Halong Bay unites against bear bile

17 September 2014


Animals Asia’s push to purge Vietnam’s iconic Halong Bay of the blight of bear bile farming is receiving unprecedented support from government, media, locals and tourists.

Despite it’s illegality, bear bile farming persists in Quang Ninh province, the home of UNESCO World Heritage site Halong Bay.

This year, campaigns running during peak tourist seasons, have been joined by all levels of provincial government – a positive sign authorities are committing to working together to eliminate bear bile farming in the area.

Together, Animals Asia and Forest Protection Department (FPD) staff distributed 12,000 awareness-raising brochures directly into the hands of tourists and locals.


Around Halong City, and pivotally in Bai Chay Wharf, where over 5,000 tourists board boats to visit the bay every day, authorities gave permission, for the first time, for anti-bear bile farming banners to be displayed free of charge.

In the biggest show of unity so far in the province, government representatives from the Quang Ninh FPD, Halong City Police, the Quang Ninh Department of Culture & tourism, Quang Ninh's International Relations Department, Halong City, and the Bay Chay Wharf Authority all publically signed Animals Asia’s pledge board on Bai Chay Wharf vowing to protect bears and reject bear bile products.


Locally media were quick to back the campaign with Quang Ninh TV reporting on the progress on the provinicial prime time news. Local newspapers also carried the story.

Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“We’ve been working closely with all these entities for a number of years now, but the unity this year has really been exciting. Numerous government departments, the local people, the media and the tourists have all contributed to raising awareness on the issue and have proudly pledged to reject this cruel industry.”


“However, some reports have perhaps been overly optimistic about the situation. Claims that only two or three farms remain in the province and that the industry can be eradicated by the end of the year don’t tally with our observations.” 

It’s believed there are still over 100 bears languishing on farms in Quang Ninh – with the two largest farms holding a combined 78 bears. These establishments continue to avoid prosecution by exploiting legal loopholes such as claiming bears are pets.

A visitor reads the brochure