No Bear Left Behind: How ending bear bile farming is key to conserving the Asiatic black bear species in Vietnam

21 May 2022

  • The Asiatic black bear, or moon bear, is vulnerable to extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • The latest IUCN report states that the species has declined by 60% in the past 30 years, with one of the severest declines occurring in Vietnam.

  • The decline corresponds with the start of the bear bile farming industry which saw thousands of bears ripped from the wild.

  • The IUCN states that the best way to conserve the Asiatic black bear species is to ‘substantially lessen the demand for bear products’.

  • Animals Asia is ending the bear bile industry by rescuing the last bears on farms which will stop the poaching and demand for bear products.

The Asiatic black bear is a vulnerable - and some argue, endangered - species. 

Native to Asia, the species - also known as moon bear - is the most highly valued species for consumers of bear parts, with its bile being used in traditional medicine.

Bears used to be caught and killed in the wild for their prized gall bladders, but around 30 years ago bear bile farming exploded as people realised they could get regular bile from a bear for the rest of its life. 

Thousands of moon bears were poached from the wild, decimating wild populations and causing untold suffering to the bears who were forced into cages to endure regular, painful bile extraction. 

Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director said,

“In Vietnam, there is no doubt that bear bile farming has caused the massive decline in the wild bear population.

“We can save the wild bear population if we end bear farming and rescue all farmed bears to sanctuaries.”

sanctuary bear

Having already rescued hundreds of bears to their award-winning sanctuary in Vietnam, Animals Asia is on the cusp of building a second sanctuary which will be home to the last bile bears in the country, ending bear bile farming forever. 

Tuan concludes,

“Ending bear bile farming will stop the poaching and demand for wild bear cubs to restock the farms, the trapping of bears in the forest, and allow wild bears to re-populate.”

With your help, we will make sure there is No Bear Left Behind.