Vietnam Bear Day encourages youngsters to join hands in ending bear farming

Monday, 2018-11-26 15:19:45
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Vietnam Bear Day 2018 was launched on November 26 with a “Better life for Bears” school letter writing challenge to pluck at the heart strings of bear owners. (Photo: Education for Nature - Vietnam)
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NDO – The Vietnam Bear Day 2018 was launched by the Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV) at Hanoi’s Newton Grammar School on November 26, featuring a school letter writing contest, aiming to join people together in the fight against bear farming across Vietnam.

ENV - one of Vietnam’s first NGOs dedicated to protecting wildfire in the country, joined Four Paws and the World Animal Protection in End Bear Farming coalition to launch the “Better life for Bears” letter writing contest, targeting to put further pressure on bear owners to call for the end of bear farming. The letters will be sent to bear owners and used in other ENV material urging bears farmers to quit bear farming and give their bears a better life at rescue centres.

All secondary and high school students aged 11-17 across Vietnam are encouraged to send their letters to ENV’s office, Room 1701, Building 17T5, Hoang Dao Thuy street, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi, no later than mid-March next year. The award ceremony for the winners is scheduled to be held in September 2019, with six individual and two collective prizes to be granted.

Children join a bear maze game at the launch of Vietnam Bear Day 2018, Hanoi, on November 26, 2018. (Photo: Education for Nature - Vietnam)

This year's Vietnam Bear Day marks one year of positive achievements in the efforts to end bear farming in the country. As of October 2018, the number of captive bears was reduced to nearly 800, down from more than 4,300 in captivity at hundreds of establishments across the country in 2005.

Also in November, three bears in captive in Dong Nai, Ben Tre and Lam Dong provinces have been handed over to bear rescue centres, bringing the total number of bears transferred voluntarily this year to 18 individuals. In addition, Ninh Binh, Can Tho and Ben Tre are the three latest provinces to put an end to bear farming this year, bringing the total number of captive bear free localities in the country to 23.

"It is time to increase the pressure of bear owners to end bear farming," Nguyen Phuong Dung, ENV Deputy Director said. "Bear owners need to understand that the bear bile farm industry in Vietnam is against the Criminal Code. The community is also turning away from this outdated activity by not using bear bile or bear products."

This year’s event features a letter writing contest which aims to convey messages to bear owners to end bear farming in Vietnam. (Photo: Education for Nature - Vietnam)

With the birth of multiple bear rescue centres across the country, many bear owners have volunteered to deliver their captive bears in order to let them have better lives at such specialised rescue centres, where bears are given healthcare, instinctive rehabilitation and freedom in their vast semi-wilderness, without suffering from the pain of extracting bear bile for the need of humans.

The contest provides the opportunity for the community to share their thoughts and feelings with bear owners, thereby contributing to the joint efforts to end the ruthless and illegal bear farming in Vietnam, Dung said, while calling on the community not to use bear bile, spread the message of protecting bears to those around them, and report bear violations to ENV’s free wildlife hotline 1800-1522.

Vietnam Bear Day 2018 also features various communication activities aimed at raising public awareness on bear and wildlife protection. (Photo: Education for Nature - Vietnam)