Environmental investment for Vietnam bear sanctuary, thanks to Green Dragon Fund

14 March 2012

An innovative wastewater treatment system that will see a local river protected from pollutants was unveiled today at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Moon Bear Rescue Centre near Hanoi. The cost was met by a US$100,000 charitable donation from the Green Dragon Fund, an investment fund managed by Environmental Investment Services Asia Limited (EISAL). EISAL is a Hong Kong-based investment management company that focuses on the environmental and low-carbon sector.

The water supply to the rescue centre comes from a small river that flows from Tam Dao Town into a lake 4km downstream. The new system has been created to ensure that the rescue centre’s water use doesn’t deplete or pollute the water from the stream.

The state-of-the-art system is designed for a daily capacity of 50 cubic metres to treat wastewater from cleaning bear dens and domestic water from the sanctuary. The system purifies the water in a low-maintenance natural biological treatment process involving sedimentation, floatation, and the breakdown of materials using bacteria and sunlight.

Environmental Investment Services Asia Limited focus on investment in the environmental sector, and a significant portion of the fund’s management and performance fees are donated to environmental NGO’s. Donations to date to environmental charities have totalled about US$1.4 million. The donation to Animals Asia for the wastewater treatment system follows previous donations totalling US$235,000 that funded the building of a number of bear house and enclosures.

Jeremy Higgs, Managing Director, Green Dragon Fund commented:
"The Directors of both the Green Dragon Fund and Environmental Investment Services Asia are delighted to have been a major sponsor for the successful setting up by Animals Asia of the Vietnam Moon Bear Rescue Centre, and we are especially pleased to be associated with the construction and operation of the state of the art wastewater treatment plant unveiled today at Tam Dao.”
“This innovative clean water project comes at a time when the world is meeting to discuss global water stress, and could not have happened without the great support of all of the Fund's shareholders and stakeholders, and I would particularly like to thank the Parly Family Office in Geneva, the Markus Jebsen Group in Hong Kong ,Goldman Sachs (Asia) and HSBC Fund Services. It has been an inspiration and a privilege to work with and give support to the Animals Asia team on this groundbreaking and extremely important conservation project in Vietnam."

Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director commented:
“I speak on behalf of a hundred bears that have been rescued from the bile industry and are living at Animals Asia’s sanctuary in Tam Dao, when I thank Green Dragon Fund for its donation. Their generosity will enable us to continue to the run the sanctuary in a way that ensures the environment is protected, and the bears needs are provided for”

Across Asia, over 14,000 moon bears are being held in captivity on farms and milked for their bile because its believed to be effective in the practice of traditional Asian medicine despite the availability of inexpensive and effective herbal and synthetic alternatives.

In Vietnam, bears are kept in small cages, drugged, restrained and have their abdomens jabbed with unsterilised four inch needles until their gall bladders are punctured to release their bile. Bear farming is illegal in Vietnam though people are allowed to keep bears as pets. While they claim bears are not milked, bear farming is a thriving industry.