Authorities in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have fined a 50-year-old from Da Huoai District VND700 million (US$30,493) for selling and transporting two Asian black bear’s limbs.
Police in Lam Dong caught Nguyen Van Bien, 50, living in Da Huoai red-handed on his way to sell the bear’s limbs on September 23, 2020.
According to functional forces, Bien was granted permission by Lam Dong authorities to raise bears.
He said that the two limbs he was carrying were cut from a domestic bear that had died previously at his facility.
Functional forces determined that the bear belonged to the Asian black bear group, which is protected at the highest level according to Vietnamese law and in the list of endangered, precious, and rare species prioritized for protection.
Bien carried out the illegal sale of the bear’s limbs despite being fully aware of the prohibition against the trade of bear products, parts, and individuals.
The man is thus charged with “violating regulations on protection of endangered, precious, and rare animals,” which shall carry the penalty of one to five years in prison or a fine of VND500 million ($21,800) to VN2 billion ($87,100) for individual violators, according to Vietnam’s Penal Code.
Bien is subject to a fine worth VND700 million, according to the sentence issued by the People’s Court of Da Huoai District on May 31.
After his violation was discovered, he also handed over the remaining two registered bears at his place to local authorities.
Trading dead bear products is not uncommon, according to Bui Thi Ha, deputy director of Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) -- a non-governmental organization focused on wildlife conservation.
Ha said that ENV is calling on local authorities to strengthen inspection and supervision of bear breeding facilities to prevent similar violations and encourage owners to transfer bears to state-run establishments to stop private bear farming in Vietnam.