The Agriculture Ministry has requested authorities in Quang Ninh province to instruct all relevant agencies to move maltreated bears from local farms to a rescue centre.

The bears will be transferred to the Bear Rescue Centre in Vinh Phuc province operated by the Animal Asia Foundation.

The request came following reports about a large number of bears being starved and left to die because they are no longer profitable, due to the Government's ban on extracting bear bile for tourists in May 2014.

Do Quang Tung, Director of Vietnam CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Management Authorities), said local farm owners who do not meet requirements for keeping bears can have their bears removed, according to the law.

Twenty-five bears that are in serious condition on farms in Ha Long and Quang Yen town will be immediately transferred to the Bear Rescue Centre.

The deaths of at least 12 bears have been recorded since November 2014 in Ha Long farms. The number of bears in the province has dropped from 152 in 2013 to 82 in 2014.-VNA