Two people in northern Vietnam have been sentenced to a combined two years in prison for illegally raising a sun bear cub.
The People’s Court in Nam Nhun District, Lai Chau Province conducted the trial of Thao A Tua, 42, and Lo Thi My, 56, on Wednesday.
Tua and My were given one year in jail each for unlwfully keeping a sun bear cub in captivity.
The indictment showed that police officers inspected the defendants’ house in Hua Bum Commune on July 14 and discovered the wild animal.
The sun bear, weighing about five kilograms, was being kept in a cage.
The animal was later brought to the rescue and conservation center at Hoang Lien National Park, located along the border between Lai Chau and Cao Lai Provinces.
The sun bear, scientifically known as Helarctos malayanus, is the world’s smallest bear species, measuring up to 160 centimeters tall and weighing around 65 kilograms.
It is listed as a rare and endangered species that needs protection in Vietnam.
Raising a sun bear violates the country’s regulations on protection of endangered, precious, and rare animals, and is punishable by one to five years in jail.
Authorities have recently recorded many cases related to trading and transporting live bear cubs along the country's northern border with China.