HÀ NỘI — Seventeen bears – which used to be kept in captivity and illegally traded to harvest their bile – are living in a bear conservation centre in the northern province of Ninh Bình.
The centre was inaugurated by Four Paws, an international animal welfare organisation, in March 2019, in Kỳ Phú Commune, Nho Quan District.
Covering around 10 hectares, the centre is able to house up to 100 bears.
The first phase of the project has been completed with 3.6 hectares.
The centre is taking care of 15 bile bears and two others saved from illegal wildlife trade activities.
It includes a veterinary clinic, two bear houses, an isolation area, and four semi-wild areas.
The facility is now able to receive more 32 bears.
At the end of 2019, it will have enough space for over 70 bears.
Director of Four Paws Viet Ngô Thị Mai Hương said Vietnam has two kinds of bears: sun bear (scientifically named Helarctos malayanus) and Asian black bear (scientifically named Ursus thibetanus).
Their existence is being seriously threatened due to habitat loss and illegal hunting, she said.
Therefore, the centre was established to take care of the bears and recover their natural habitat, she added.
It is open free for visitors during weekdays, she said.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyễn Ngọc Thạch said local authorities will create the best conditions in terms of policies and legal procedures for Four Paws to complete the second phase of the project and build it into a tourist site to raise public awareness of bear conservation.-VNA