Pedal power raises awareness of exploited bears

06 February 2013

Hanoians brave cold and rain to “Ride for the Bears” 

More than 100 people took to the roads on a cold and rainy Saturday (26 January 3013) in Hanoi to raise awareness of the need to protect endangered moon bears and other wildlife. 

The “Ride for the Bears” was organised by Action Bear, a group of students from universities around Hanoi. A total of 40 cyclists of all ages pedalled from the capital to Animals Asia’s Bear Rescue Centre at Tam Dao National Park and back again – a total of 124km. Although all were amateur riders, everyone finished. 

The cyclists were joined by 30 supporters on motorbikes and in cars, 20 logistics volunteers including Animals Asia staff, Action Bear volunteers, a doctor and 14 journalists including TV crews. 

The convoy set off from Hanoi’s Nghia Do Park, Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay District at 6am and arrived at the sanctuary at 11.45am, weary but happy to have spread the word about the need to protect Vietnam’s bears. They were also thrilled to meet the bears rescued from bile farms and now living in freedom at the rescue centre. The event received wide coverage in the Vietnamese media. 

The students formed Action Bear in 2012 to raise awareness about environmental issues and to support Animals Asia, which runs the only sanctuary in Vietnam solely dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating bears. Action Bear previously rallied almost 1,000 people to sign a petition against Animals Asia’s forced eviction from the Tam Dao site. The eviction notice was overturned by Vietnam’s Prime Minister earlier in January.