Save Vietnam’s Bear Sanctuary

moon bear credit Gregory Moine via flickr

Target: Vietnam prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung

Goal: Demand that Vietnam’s prime minister halt plans to evict a national bear sanctuary from Vietnam’s Tam Dao National Park.

The Vietnam Bear Rescue Center is located in Vietnam’s Tam Dao National Park and houses over 100 endangered bears. These bears have mainly been rescued from Vietnam’s illegal bile-farming industry, a practice which includes caging the bears and then forcibly extracting bile from the bears’ gull bladders to sell on the black market for use in traditional medicine. This practice is illegal in Vietnam, and the sanctuary was set up through the national government to act as a rehabilitation center for the tortured bears. Now the park is threatening to evict the bear sanctuary from park lands – a move that would leave 104 bears and 77 rescue workers without anywhere to go. Sign this petition and urge Vietnam’s prime minister to save the bear sanctuary.

The reason for the eviction remains unclear. The Ministry of Agriculture, which oversees the national park, and the park director, Do Dinh Tien, cite reasons of national security, saying that the Ministry of Defense wants the land. However, there also seem to be plans, headed by the park director’s daughter, Do Thi Ngan, that involve using some of the land reserved for the center to build a tourist development. None of the parties involved would speak with the BBC, who reported on the eviction, about the conflict of interest and the conflicting reasons for the eviction.

Should the Ministry of Defense actually need the land for national security, then the government should pay to relocate the sanctuary to another government-funded park. What was the point in rescuing the bears from their tortured and doomed fate at the bile farms if not to keep them safe and protected in a rescue center? In fact, the eviction notice is in direct conflict with an agreement made in 2005 between the charity that runs the sanctuary, Animals Asia, and the Vietnam government to develop a permanent site for bear rehabilitation on park lands.

Animals Asia have stated that the sanctuary is not just a rescue center but an education center for the local community and a huge boost to the economy of the surrounding area. The educational aspect of the sanctuary is of the utmost importance as it helps to spread awareness about the cruelty of bile farms and how cruelty-free herbal alternatives exist that are equally effective and inexpensive to make. Once fully completed, the center would incorporate an herb garden that would grow herbs and plants that are used as alternatives for bear bile in traditional medicine.

Sign this petition and urge the Vietnam prime minister to save the bear sanctuary.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,

The Bear Rescue Center that you have set up in Vietnam’s Tam Dao National Park should be seen as a national treasure to be cherished and protected, not half built and then passed over for the next money-making item on the agenda. We urge you to save the bear sanctuary as it acts not just as a rescue center for abused and tortured bears but also as an important educational center which helps to spread knowledge and awareness about bear conservation and welfare.

The 2005 agreement between the government and the charity involved with the sanctuary states that the government would work with Animals Asia to develop a permanent site for bear rehabilitation. To re-cage these abused animals and evict them with no place to go is equally as cruel and uncaring as those farmers who used the bears only as receptacles for their bile. These animals have seen enough cruelty at the hands of humans. Please work to preserve the bear rescue sanctuary.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

-Photo credit: Gregory Moine via flickr

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