Vietnam vows to eliminate bear captivity establishments
  • | VietnamNet | September 20, 2012 06:12 PM

State management agencies are trying to tighten the control over bear captivity establishments before absolutely eliminating the establishments.


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is drafting a circular which would replace the current regulations on the management over bears in captivity. The new circular, once coming out, would help better protect bears in Vietnam, since it can fix the loopholes in the current laws and clarify the vague provisions in the currently valid Decision No. 95 issued in 2008.

In 2005, MARD showed its determination to stop the captivity of bears in Vietnam when launching the program to manage bred bears. Under the program, bears are implanted with chips, while bear breeders have to commit to take care for bears to the end of life.

The main goal of the program is to prevent any new bears to appear at the breeding establishments after the registration deadline. This would help step by step eliminate the bear breeding. After the bears die naturally because of the old age and diseases, there would be no bears in captivity any more.

The program has brought initial encouraging achievements. CITES Vietnam has reported that 2385 bear individuals are being bred in the captivity status at establishments, or nearly halving from the number of bears in 2005 (4500 individuals).

In 2006, MARD issued the regulation on captive bears, which was then highly appreciated with the provisions creating favorable conditions for the implementation of the Vietnamese commitments to gradually stop the bear captivity.

However, in 2008, the legal document was then replaced by the Decision No. 95, described as a step back in the building up of the legal framework to protect bears. The new document did not include the important provisions stipulated in the previous document.

Therefore, it is expected that the compiling document to replace the Decision No. 95 would fix the existing problems to ensure the success of the program to stop bear captivity for commercial purpose.

The legal document, once coming out, would reaffirm Vietnam’s commitments to struggle against the illegal bear trade.

Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), the first Vietnamese organization established to help the conservation of the nature and environment, has urged the government agencies to show their stronger determination to stop the bear captivity in Vietnam.

The organization believes that it is necessary to stop the development of the number of establishments farming bears and prohibit the appearance of new bears, no matter the bears are in captivity or caught from the wild.

The discovered bears in captivity must be transferred to competent agencies, unless the establishments can show the documents allowing them to keep the bears for scientific research, education or conservation purposes. In this case, the establishments must commit not to carry out any activities relating to the bear trade.

According to ENV, to date at least seven bear farms and private zoos have had newly born bears. Competent agencies and people have affirmed that bears still have been exploited for gall at the private zoos and parks which introduce themselves as the organizations operating for the wildlife conservation purpose.

Since the current laws do not stipulate that the bears to be born at the bear farms would be seized, ENV believes that the goal of eliminating bear farming may become an impossible mission.

The State needs to reaffirm that it does not recognize the individual ownership over the bear individuals registered to the state agencies.

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