Two moon bears were on Monday saved by local authorities and a wildlife charity after they had been held in captivity for around 15 years at a house in southern Vietnam.
The adult mammals, one female and one male, were found to be raised in a cage by a family in Binh Duong Province, which borders Ho Chi Minh City.
The rescue was a joint effort by the local authorities and Nuoc Viet – a wildlife protection organization based in the northern province of Ninh Binh.
The family consented to hand the animals, which belong to a species classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in to authorities.
Workers from the wildlife charity put the bears under anesthesia before performing a medical examination.
They said the bears seemed to have experienced bile extraction and the female one lost many of her teeth as she had been excessively fed on flour.
They animals are expected to be transported to a sanctuary for better care in Ninh Binh, around 1,500 kilometers away.
|Wildlife charity workers examine a bear that was cage-raised at a home in Binh Duong Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre|
Nuoc Viet said it would continue working with Vietnamese authorities to persuade farm owners nationwide to send bears to wildlife conservation centers.
It estimates around 800 bears are being raised across Vietnam so that bile – a substance in certain folk remedies – can be extracted from them.
In 2005 the Vietnamese government launched an initiative on micro-chipping bears to phase out the captivity of bears.
In mid-2017, the government committed itself to shutting down all bear bile farms and sending the bears to sanctuaries by 2020.