Illustrative image (Source: Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre)

Hanoi (VNA) – More than 5,000 residents in Phuc Tho district of Hanoi have signed their names to a petition calling for an end to bear farming, said Deputy Director of the Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung.

Dung said on February 13 that the petition was sent to the chairperson of the Phuc Tho district People’s Committee. It called on authorised agencies to take drastic actions to encourage local bear farm owners to voluntarily hand over nearly 170 bears that remain in captivity, giving them a better life.

She noted that the appeal shows local people’s strong support of this issue and positive changes in their awareness. The eradication of bear farming in Phuc Tho, an area of particular concern within Vietnam, will help promote the transfer of captive bears in other localities.

However, this work depends much on efforts by relevant agencies in monitoring the situation and strictly handling violations, Dung added.

In 2018, 19 bears were voluntarily handed over to relevant agencies and organisations in Vietnam, reducing the number of captive bears to about 750 – much lower than the figure of over 4,300 captive bears in 2005.

Dung said the ENV will hold many activities to promote bear farming eradication this year. Notably, an ongoing letter writing competition on this topic has attracted more than 1,000 entries.

She also called on the public to stop using bear bile products which are believed to have medicinal uses, while also popularising bear protection messages in the community and reporting violations to the hotline on 18001522.–VNA