Four Paws in Vietnam saves two Asiatic black bear cubs

One of the Asiatic black bear cubs drinking from a bottle at Four Paws in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

One of the Asiatic black bear cubs drinking from a bottle at Four Paws in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

There is no trace of the cubs’ mother and it is suspected that they were imported from neighbouring Laos or came directly from bear farms.

International animal welfare organisation Four Paws has taken two Asiatic black bear cubs into its care after Vietnamese authorities rescued them in the Hai Phong province on Tuesday.

The female bear cubs were only a few weeks old when they fell victim to wildlife smugglers, but they now have a new chance at life after being brought to the Four Paws bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh, where they will receive intensive medical care.

The welfare organisation said the illegal trade of bears was stopped just in time, thanks to the cooperation of the Vietnamese police and authorities – the local non-government organisation Education for Nature-Vietnam, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, and Four Paws.

Four Paws Vietnam animal manager Emily Lloyd said their veterinarians immediately provided the bears with medical care after they were confiscated. The cubs spent a night at a hotel before they were transferred to the organisation’s bear sanctuary on Thursday.

The two Asiatic black bear cubs at Four Paws in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

“The bears are still very young and the situation is critical, but we will do everything we can for their survival,” Lloyd said. “The cubs were dehydrated when we took them over. Our team of veterinarians currently provide them with milk with added vitamins and probiotics.

“Although the bears only weigh 900g, both are quite strong and drink enough of the milk,” she added.

There is no trace of the cubs’ mother and the origin of the two cubs has not yet been determined, but Lloyd said there was a high possibility that the bear cubs were imported from neighbouring Laos or came directly from bear farms in Vietnam.

She said since it was not possible to release the cubs into the wild, the animals would remain in the species-appropriate bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh.

Lloyd stressed that the Ninh Binh Four Paws bear sanctuary, which has space for 44 bears, was making an important contribution to end bile bear farming in Vietnam.

Research done in 2016 and 2017 revealed that many bears were still being used for bile extraction and that the illegal trade of bear bile was still flourishing in Vietnam.

ilsedl@citizen.co.za

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