Forum discusses international experiences in bear conservation

Friday, 2018-02-02 16:41:00
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Bear farming in Vietnam has declined drastically but more efforts are required to end the activity in the country. (Photo: Education for Nature – Vietnam)
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NDO – International conservatives and representatives from wildlife protection organisations joined the local authorities and policy makers at a forum in Hanoi, on February 2, to share their experiences in bear protection and bear bile farm management.

The third Asiatic Black Bear Forum was co-organised by the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VN Forest) and the international non-profit animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection (WAP), to provide a space for discussions, to share experience and seek solutions to end bear farming in Vietnam, thus promoting the cooperation to stop bear bile exploitation and support the conservation of bears in nature.

This is the first forum to be held in Vietnam, following the two previous events in China in 2016 and 2017.

Speaking at the forum, Tran The Lien, Head of the Department of Special-use Forests and Forest Protection (under the VN Forest), said that bear farming in the country has declined sharply, demonstrating that the efforts made by the Vietnamese side have been highly successful.

One illegal bear in Phuc Tho district was discovered and confiscated in Hanoi. (Photo: Education for Nature – Vietnam)

In 2006, there were more than 4,000 bears being kept in captive for the purpose of bile extraction and other purposes. However, the number of captive bears has fallen sharply to 842 bears in captivity at 268 establishments (16 organisations and 252 households) in 42 provinces at present.

International commitments on wildlife protection and the management and conservation of bears, especially bear farming in Vietnam, have been strictly implemented in accordance with the law.

In July, the Government of Vietnam once again pledged to close bear farms. More and more bear owners have voluntarily handed over their captive bears to the State without any assistance. The situation indicates a positive change in the perceptions of the bear owners on the need to terminate this activity.

Karanvir Kukreja, the Manager for Bear Protection Campaign under WAP, said that over the past 12 years, the local authorities, NGOs and communities have made efforts to promote the end of captive bear farming in Vietnam. There is still a need for a combination of policy enforcement and the participation of all related agencies, communities and bear farmers to put an end to this activity, Karanvir Kukreja stated.

Delegates from the Republic of Korea’s Parliament and wildlife NGO Green Korea United shared their experiences with Vietnam to support the end of bear farming in the country. They also assessed the challenges that Vietnam is facing in order to work out measures and called for efforts from Vietnam and its partners to promote the end of bear bile and illegal bear farming.

The third Asiatic Black Bear Forum aims to share experience on bear protection and bear bile farm management. (Photo: Trung Hung/NDO)