A female sun bear in captivity in the southern province of Tay Ninh, Vietnam was rescued yesterday.
Despite the species usually being captured in Vietnam to farm bile, the keeper of this 50kg bear claimed to be keeping her as a pet, VNS reports.
Animals Asia voluntarily rescued the creature after receiving tips from a local traditional medicine practitioner, during a program aiming to grow and popularize herbal plants that could substitute for bear bile in traditional remedies.
It is reported that there are 800 bears being kept in farms across the country while the wild population has dwindled to a few hundred.
Animals Asia said the keeper of the bear, which was named Aurora, was co-operative in transferring the bear into new hands.
“We don’t know much about Aurora or her history, but she is likely to be traumatised and depressed from her extreme isolation in a barren cage for what has likely been quite a few years,” said Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen.
The Tay Ninh forest rangers unit said this is the last sun bear remaining in captivity in the province.
The veterinary doctors concluded that, despite some non-acute tooth and joint problems, the bear was fit enough to make a 1,500km journey to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Đao National Park in northern Vietnam, where it is expected to join the community of other rescued sun bears there.
Animals Asia has conducted four rescues so far this year, bringing eight bears to the northern sanctuary. It is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and forestry agencies to free all captive bears by 2022