Eight moon bears rescued from illegal farms

2015-10-23 15:50
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Hanoi - Eight so-called moon bears were rescued this week from illegal farms and moved to an enclosed rural sanctuary to aid their recovery, an animal welfare charity said on Friday.

The Asian black bears, nicknamed moon bears after the crescent marking on their chest, are illegally kept in Vietnam for their bile, which is a traditional ingredient in folk medicine.

The animals are endangered in Vietnam, with only about 100 left in the wild.

The rescues left only one in captivity in Quang Ninh province on the country's north-eastern coast, said Tuan Bendixsen, director of the Vietnam branch of Animals Asia, said.

He remained confident that illegal bear bile extraction "can be ended across Vietnam."

Vietnam outlawed bear bile farming in 2005. Efforts to eradicate the practice reduced the number of bears kept illegally in captivity from 4 349 in 2005 to 1 245 at the start of 2015, according to an internal government report.

More than 10 000 are in captivity in China, where the practice remains legal, according to Animals Asia.

Traditional healers in Vietnam are being encouraged to use herbal remedies as an alternative to bear bile.

Unlike bogus claims that fuel the illegal trade in rhino horn, bear bile has proven benefits an anti-inflammatory balm, experts say.

Read more on:    vietnam

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