Animals Asia Rescues Three Bears From Bile Farm In Vietnam During COVID-19 Lockdown


With Covid-19 travel restrictions within Vietnam lifted slightly, Animals Asia’s rescue team have swung into action to rescue three bears from Nam Dinh province, just over four hours drive from their Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao.

“We first got the call over two weeks ago,” said Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen in an email to WAN, “but with the lockdown imposed after the confirmation of several new COVID-19 cases in Vietnam a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had to wait until it was safe for our team to conduct the rescue, for their safety and the safety of the community.”

Sadly, when Animals Asia was first notified about the bears by the Nam Dinh Forest Protection Department (FPD), they learned that there had originally been four bears, but one of them had died on the farm before the FDP could get to them. Nam Dinh FPD has since moved the three bears to a local FPD station as they were concerned that more bears would die if left on the farm.

“Once the restrictions were lifted, we were very keen to get to them at the first opportunity,” said Tuan. “They might be called the three bears, but life has been no fairytale for them.”

Animals Asia has been rescuing bears in Vietnam and China for over 20 years, and entered into an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnamese government in 2017, to help rescue all the bears remaining on bile farms and finally end bear bile farming in Vietnam for good. This rescue will be more challenging than most, given the need to observe COVID-19 guidelines of wearing masks in public, having no more than ten people in a gathering at a public/government place, having temperatures taken, and the need for foreign staff to bring passports to show they have not been overseas recently.

“That’s just something we have to factor in,” said Tuan. “But we have a responsibility to get to these bears as soon as possible. We need to get them back to our rescue centre and give them the chance to finally live happily ever after.”

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