Police in northern Vietnam announced on Friday the seizure of two young moon bears, also known as Asian black bears, during an attempted sale of the animals the previous the day.
The cubs were found being illegally put up for sale in Hai Phong, a port city about 90 kilometers east of Hanoi.
Following the rescue, the animals were tended to by members of international animal welfare charity FOUR PAWS.
The animals were then transported to a bear sanctuary in neighboring Ninh Binh Province.
|The two moon bears cubs found in the Vietnamese province of Hai Phong on January 9, 2019. Photo: Education for Nature – Vietnam.|
|One of the two moon bears cubs found in the Vietnamese province of Hai Phong on January 9, 2019. Photo: Education for Nature – Vietnam|
Both bears are two to three weeks old and are in relatively good health, according to Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, deputy head of nongovernmental organization Education for Nature – Vietnam.
Dung said bears are on the list of threatened species that receive prioritized protection in Vietnam, where the hunting, capturing, killing, transportation and trading of bears are criminal offences.
The sale of the two moon bear cubs may lead to a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Bears are often sold and kept at farms in Vietnam for the extraction of bile, a substance common in local folk medicine.
The Vietnamese government is trying to shut down all of the country’s bear bile farms and relocate the bears to sanctuaries by 2020.