Last update: 14:33 | 10/08/2017
The Hanoi Forest Protection Department, in coordination with World Animal Protection, has recently completed a re-micro-chipping of over 200 captive bears on farms in Hanoi, allowing for a safer and more efficient monitoring of the bears, without the need for anesthesia.
An illegal bear in Hanoi’s Phuc Tho district discovered and confiscated during the micro-chipping programme in the capital city.
The latest electronic chipping programme in the capital city, one of the hotspots in Vietnam in terms of both the captive bear population and the concentration of farms, is part of a new strategy developed by a coalition of NGOs, including the World Animal Protection, Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV) and Four Paws International, in partnership with the government to expedite the end of bear farming in the country.
Dr. Karan Kukreja of World Animal Protection, which initiated the efforts to end bear bile farming in Vietnam in 2004, emphasised the importance of the re-chipping operation in Hanoi. He said that it is critical that the authorities effectively monitor the farms post micro-chipping of bears to ensure that bear farmers do not engage in any form of exploitation of their captive bears, including trading them illegally.
After Hanoi, the World Animal Protection (formally World Society for the Protection of Animals) plans to expand the re-micro-chipping programme to other key provinces that have a concentration of bears and bear bile farms, Dr. Karan added.
In 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and World Animal Protection initiated a programme to register and insert microchips in over 4,300 captive bears, kept on hundreds of farms throughout the country.
The registration and micro-chipping process is mainly aimed at preventing new illegally sourced bears (without microchips) from entering farms and ensuring the improved monitoring of farms for illegal activities.
Thanks to the strong commitments and efforts of the relevant agencies, over the last 12 years, the number of captive bears has decreased dramatically to just over 1,200, as reported by the MARD in 2015.
Bui Thi Ha, Director of Policy and Legislative Campaigns at ENV said that significant progress has been achieved since 2005 when the government first initiated efforts to phase out bear bile farming in Vietnam.
The number of bears on farms has been reduced by approximately 70%, while bear bile use has also dropped by over 61%, Ha stated, adding that there have been corresponding improvements in the law and effective law enforcement when compared to twelve years ago.
She also cited the successful closure of bear bile farms in Quang Ninh, in 2015, as an example, noting that the collaboration between ENV and Quang Ninh successfully put a stop to so-called “bear bile tourism” in the province.