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Vietnam races to end bear farming

Ha Noi (December 10, 2017) – Today, more than 800 runners from 43 countries around the globe have come together to “Run for Bears” to signal their strong support for the closing of bear farms, the reduction of bear bile demand, and expediting an end to the cruel and illegal bear bile industry. Hanoi Red River Runners hosted this year’s 11th Annual Hanoi Half Marathon organized by Sporting Republic, in partnership with Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV).

 

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This year’s event marks the fifth consecutive year that the race has run to benefit wildlife protection in Vietnam, and forms part of Vietnam’s National Bear Week, with activities to be held by ENV, World Animal Protection and Four Paws.

 

In addition to hundreds of individual runners from Vietnam and abroad, the race also attracted the participation of running teams from the American, British, and French Embassies, the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, as well as some corporations including Hong Ngoc Hospital, JOLO English, and PEAK Destination Management Company. Famous Vietnamese writer Trang Ha and her family also participated in the race for the third consecutive year.

 

"This year's event, like each one before it, is the biggest ever. I am so proud that our race highlights the welfare of endangered animals in Vietnam. Red River Runners have a huge amount of faith in the work that ENV are doing to tackle bear bile farming and I hope our race gives this issue maximum attention that it deserves.” said Jody O'Dea, Hanoi Red River Runners

 

The race celebrates the end of 2017 with a number of achievements in expediting an end to bear farming in Vietnam. In the middle of this year, the Vietnamese government reaffirmed its commitment to end bear farming. The second phase of a bear management chipping program also rolled out in hotspots like Hanoi and Dong Nai to strengthen bear farm monitoring. Enforcement efforts have also resulted in a number of bear transfers and confiscations around the country over the year. Significantly, a bear farm owner in Binh Duong had decided to give up bear farming by transferring all nine bears to a rescue center. In November, a new bear sanctuary was opened in Ninh Binh.

 

"We are pleased to see progress over the past year as efforts are mobilized to expedite an end to bear farming in Vietnam”, says Ms. Nguyen Phuong Dung, ENV Vice Director. “Our ultimate aim is to eliminate the bear bile industry in Vietnam in order to give an opportunity for bears to recover in the wild.”

 

Dung called on the authorities to exercise effective monitoring at remaining farms to ensure that bile is not extracted from bears, and to address bear crimes wherever they occur.

 

Dung also urged the public to “stand up 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 1-800-1522.

 

The race kicks off an intensive week full of bear-themed activities supported by a coalition of partners dedicated to the end of farming of bears in Vietnam:

 

   • December 11: A school program will be organized at Phung Thuong secondary school in the       Phuc Tho district of Hanoi - a hotspot for bear farming. Kids will learn about bears,  engage in       a “Wish for Bears” activity to share their aspirations for protecting Vietnam's bears and                  hear the debut of a specially written bear song.
   • December 12: There will be an expert-hosted round table discussion with journalists in                  Hanoi. On the same day, three bears that have been rescued in November will be                        released into a just-finished outdoor enclosure at the BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh - a                Four Paws sanctuary.

   • December 13: Local authorities in Dong Nai will continue the second phase of re-                         microchipping for bears at farms within the province. The next generation chips enable                 scanning without the need to anesthetize the bears. Only chipped bears are deemed legal           and so this new technology will help strengthen monitoring of bear farms to ensure no                   new bears are being sourced from the wild.

   • December 14: A wildlife trade seminar that includes a wide ranging examination of the issues       with captive bears will be organized at a university in Binh Duong province - a bear hotspot           area in the South of Vietnam.
   • December 15: A similar seminar initiative will be organized targeting business people.                    Additionally, the Hong Ngoc hospital will broadcast a series of Public Service                                Announcements urging the public not to use bear bile at its entrances, reaching thousands          of patients, staff and visitors.

   • December 16: “End Bear Farming” events will be organized in 12 major cities across the             country - including Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Da Nang,             and Ho Chi Minh City urging the public not to use bear bile. In Hanoi, a major public                     awareness raising event will be held at Thu Le Zoo with lots of fun bear-related activities.

 

ENV would like to thank Hanoi Red River Runners and the Sporting Republic for hosting this annual event in support of bear protection. We would also like to thank World Animal Protection and Four Paws International for their continuous supports to ENV’s campaigns in expediting an end to bear farming in Vietnam. Stay tuned for an exciting Bear Week!