Vietnamese school children make the cases for freeing caged bears

03 September 2020

On a warm summer’s day last month, school children from the Phung Thuong region of Hanoi in Vietnam made heartwarming and touching cases for freeing the remaining bears on bile farms in the area.

Animals Asia has worked with schools in the Phung Thuong region for many years, educating the children on bear bile farms - which are prevalent in the area - and the herbal alternatives to bear bile, through a variety of activities and hands-on learning experiences.

Phụng Thượng is a hotspot for bear bile farming with 22 bear farms which contain 149 moon bears and has long been the primary target of Animals Asia’s various awareness campaigns.

This year, Animals Asia invited children from Phung Thuong Primary School to compete for prizes by teaming up and answering the question: “As a campaign team, what would you do to protect the bears?” The children were free to express their creativity and use whatever resources and mediums they wished.

One group made a model of a forest complete with a bear hanging out by a stream and living peacefully among other wildlife. Group leader Nguyễn Thái Anh said: “Bears need to be able live in their real home, which is the forest … bears suffer greatly on bear farms, and their cries are heartbreaking”.

Khuất Khánh Ly, leader of Ngôi sao xanh (Blue Star) group presented a poem they wrote about a moon bear who was poached from the wild and imprisoned on a bear farm:

“Tớ vừa đau vừa buồn”

Cuộc sống thế là hết”

“I am hurt and sad

My life is over”

The poem continues to explain how the bear goes through terrible pain and despair before being rescued by the rangers and is once again able to bask in the sunlight:

Niềm hy vọng đã đến

Nhờ những chú kiểm lâm

Đã giải cứu thành công

Đưa tớ về chăm sóc

Tớ đã được khỏe mạnh

Mây đen đã qua đi

Mặt trời mọc tươi sáng

“Hope has come

thanks to the rangers.

I’m rescued and will be taken care of.

The dark clouds are gone.

The sun shines brightly again.”

Animals Asia staff Senior Bear Manager Sarah Van Herpt, Bear Manager Amanda Catspell, Vet Surgeons Rachel Sanki and Kate Shipton, and Vet Nurse Kelly Spence along with the Hanoi Forest Protection Department (FPD) awarded 1st prizes to 11 groups with each member receiving a drawstring bag filled with Animals Asia goodies. Delegates from the local government department, the school Principal and members of the FPD also awarded the runners up with prizes and accolades. 

This happy, entertaining and exciting day was enjoyed by everyone involved - especially and most importantly, the children. Through their creations and discussions, they expressed compassion and empathy for the bears who are still held captive in the area in which they live. With your help they can be the generation that finally sees a complete end to bear bile farming in their country forever.