Medicinal plant campaign helps promote bear protection among community

Friday, 2018-11-30 17:03:30
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Medicinal plants won the first prizes at the tree-exchange festival. (Photo: NDO/Thao Le)
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NDO – A prize award ceremony was held at Phung Thuong Primary School in Phung Thuong commune, Hanoi’s Phuc Tho district, on November 29, to grant gifts to local pupils who participated in a bear protection contest by planting medicinal plants in replacement of bear bile.

Held by Animals Asia in cooperation with Phung Thuong Primary School and Hanoi Forest Protection Department, the event aims to promote the protection of bears in the commune, which are the locales with the highest number of bears in captivity in the country, with up to nearly 200 individuals.

The programme was organised in the form of a festival, where students bring their marked trees to exchange them for gifts and prizes. They are medicinal plants sown from seeds or collected by students based on the list of medicinal plants that have the same effect as bear bile, compiled by the Vietnam Oriental Traditional Medicine Association and Animals Asia.

The planting campaign was launched in October 4, calling on children to learn more about alternative medicinal plants for use instead of bear bile, helping to protect bears and the environment. The competition also encouraged students to learn about plastic recycling as useful tools. After nearly two months since its launch, more than 712 trees from 852 students were sent to the organisers.

Pupils eagerly carry their trees to exchange for gifts. (Photo: NDO/Thao Le)

The organising board awarded 104 first prizes, 294 second prizes and 314 encouragement prizes for all pupils participating in the contest.

The event aims to introduce herbal alternatives to bear bile and, together with the school, a 200m² biological garden has been built on the premises for growing herbal plants to replace bear bile. The children received the information in a visual way, while they could also contribute to building a green garden, in addition to taking part in the communication campaign to stop the use of bear bile to protect this rare animal.

Phung Thuong is home to roughly 200 bears in captivity, accounting for a quarter of the total number of bears being kept on farms throughout the country.

In 2018, Animals Asia, Dan Phuong Forest Protection Unit under Hanoi Forest Protection Department and Phung Thuong commune People's Committee have carried out various communication forms to promote the protection of bears, such as offering free health consultancy and alternative medicines for bear bile, developing herbal gardens and providing information for students in Phung Thuong Primary School on the issue.

The “seeds” of bear protection are "sown" on the school ground. (Photo: NDO/Thao Le)