Revealed: Malnourished young bears “ruthlessly exploited” at Vietnam tourist hotspot

11 March 2019

The poaching and exploitation of moon bears is illegal, but tourists keep the cruelty running – tell the government to act!

An Animals Asia investigation into a popular tourist destination in Vietnam has revealed malnourished juvenile moon bears kept in deplorable conditions and forced to perform bizarre tricks for the entertainment of tourists.

On stage the bears were muzzled, forced to ride bicycles, juggle and balance on objects in part of a bizarre show. Off stage, the bears were paraded as a selfie backdrop before being returned to tiny, barren cages away from visitors’ view.

bear riding bicycle on stage

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Department Manager Nguyen Tam Thanh said:

“This is the most ruthless exploitation of a protected species. Clearly no thought is given to the welfare of the bears as they endure an utterly miserable existence. Vietnam has laws against this brutal exploitation but nothing is being done to end the suffering.”

While Vietnamese law does not prohibit animal performance, protected species such as bears, macaques and elephants are protected from exploitation including poaching and trading for profit.

However, despite a report by Animals Asia showing the widespread abuse of protected species at circuses across the country, the authorities have yet to take punitive action against any facility and the performances continue.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“The latest video evidence shows just how appalling the treatment of these bears really is and how blatantly Vietnam’s own laws are being ignored. 

“These young bears are painfully thin and we need answers as to where they have come from. Their poaching and trade is illegal in Vietnam, and so is their exploitation for profit yet that is exactly what is going on at Orchid Island in plain sight for everybody to see.”

chained bear sits and waits during show

Orchid Island is a facility run by Long Phu Corporation, a company with a long history of animal cruelty which now specialises in “eco-tourism” in the popular resort town of Nha Trang.

Due to Animals Asia’s exposés of Long Phu’s cruel facilities, global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet and the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor both stopped selling their tours.

Following the publication of an Animals Asia investigation into animal cruelty and wildlife crime at circuses up and down the country, the charity is petitioning the Vietnam government to ban all wild animal performance. Once the petition has received 100,000 signatures it will be sent to the Ministry of Culture.

In 2018, a cruel monkey circus within a UNESCO-accredited reserve was ended after a long-running campaign by Animals Asia and a petition signed by over 40,000 people.

Add your voice to the chorus calling for change. Sign the petition asking the Vietnam government to end cruelty and wildlife crime by banning wild animal performances, and allowing the animals to be sent to sanctuaries and rescue centres.