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Vietnam’s National Bear Day encourages youth to help end bear farming

Hanoi, November 26, 2018 – Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) celebrates Vietnam’s National Bear Day today by hosting a kick-off event in the Newton Secondary school to launch a letter writing challenge titled, Give bears a better life. With the aim of raising awareness and calling for active involvement in bear protection efforts from the youth, participants are being encouraged to send handwritten letters convincing bear farm owners to hand over their captive bears.

 

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This year’s National Bear Day taps into a number of achievements this year in the campaign to end to bear farming in Vietnam. The number of bears on bear farms has decreased substantially to approximately 800 bears as of October 2018, compared to more than 4,300 bears documented at hundreds of farms throughout the country in 2005. Earlier this month, three captive bears in Dong Nai, Ben Tre and Lam Dong were voluntarily turned over to the authorities, bringing the total number of voluntarily transferred bears in 2018 to eighteen. Moreover, 23 provinces are now bear farm-free as four more provinces (Ninh Binh, Can Tho, Tien Giang and Ben Tre) succeeded in formally ending bear farming in private farms this year.

 

However, the battle cannot be won without the strong support and active involvement of the public.

 

Decreasing consumer interest in bear bile, as evidenced by the 61% reduction in demand since 2009 (according to an ENV study published in 2015), has denied bear bile farmers the opportunity to profit from exploiting and selling bear bile. This has resulted in an increasing number of bear owners giving up their illegal business to reduce their burden and avoid liability.

 

“It is time to increase pressure on Vietnam’s remaining bear bile farmers to give up their bears and move on,” Ms. Nguyen Phuong Dung, ENV Vice Director said. “They need to know that their bile business is a criminal enterprise that is steadily being consigned to the past, and is now rejected by society.”

 

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Thanks to the establishment of bear rescue centers throughout the country, many bear owners have been convinced to give their bears a better life at these species-appropriate sanctuaries.

 

“ENV hopes that the entries carrying students’ personal thoughts and feelings will prompt bear owners to change their mind about keeping bears and voluntarily transfer their bears to a rescue center,” Ms. Dung added.

 

Ms. Dung also urged the public to “take a stand and get involved” by committing not to use bear bile, encouraging others to protect bears, and taking action, such as educating others and reporting bear crimes to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline 1800-1522.

 

The competition is expected to attract thousands of entries by the end of February 2019, which will be used in ENV’s campaign to end bear farming and trade in Vietnam during the coming months and years.

 

ENV would like to thank the Newton School for their generous support of this event, marking the launch of a new partnership with ENV to protect Vietnam’s wildlife.

 

For more details about ENV’s campaign to bring an end to bear farming and trade, please visit HERE