The bear received a medical examination by Four Paws Viet staff. (Photo courtesy of ENV)

Thai Nguyen (VNA) - An Asiatic black bear owned by Tran Van Trach in Thai Nguyen city of northern Thai Nguyen province has been safely transferred to Ninh Binh Bear Sanctuary.

Trach is the first bear owner in Thai Nguyen to voluntarily hand over his bear, marking a milestone in the journey towards ending bear farming in the province.

Last May, he joined a tour of the sanctuary to see what an appropriate home to bears should look like. This was part of a joint effort by Four Paws Viet, an animal welfare organisation, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) and Thai Nguyen province’s Department of Forest Rangers to convince bear owners to give up their animals.

According to the latest data released by the Vietnam Forest Protection Department, as of July, 2018, Vietnam has only 780 bears in captivity outside rescue centres.

According to ENV, Vietnam has 22 bear farm-free provinces. The number of bears in captivity significantly decreased between 2005 and 2017 from 4,300 to some 900.

Bears had been kept to extract their bile until the 1990s. Bear bile farming was outlawed in 1992 but owners were not forced to give up the bears they held, prolonging the harmful practice.-VNA