LookAtVietnam – More than 100 bears at the Bear Rescue Centre were condemned to almost certain death until Animals Asia Foundation established a Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao national park, the northern province of Vinh Phuc.
|How is these bears’ fate?|
These bears now face an uncertain future because of a land development project, said VIPs, including the Australian Ambassador, the Belgian Ambassador, and heads of international organizations who recently attended a special Open Day at the centre.
They stressed that work on the planned expansion of the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC) should continue uninterrupted.
The future of the centre is being threatened because a private company wants to take control of 6 hectares of land that has been set aside by the Government for an expansion of the center to build holiday villas.
“The centre has been a great success story in the battle against illegal bear bile trade and farming,” said Animals Asia Vietnam Director, Tuan Bendixsen.
“This is a wonderful example of cooperation between Animals Asia, the Vietnamese People, Vietnamese Government, provincial authorities, local community and supporters around the world”.
|Delegates inspect bear rescue centre in Tam Dao.|
According to Tuan, a world-class rescue centre for 200 “ambassador” bears will be built, including a house, a number of bear houses with large outdoor enclosures and a second waste treatment system to accommodate the increasing number of bears being rescued and treated at the centre. However, he said this work has regrettably been blocked and delayed.
“The centre deploys best practice in waste water treatment and environmental management. We are taken aback to hear that certain individuals are questioning our practices which are indeed best practice,” said Anne-Marie Weegenaar, Veterinarian and Bear team Director at the Bear Rescue Centre.
Several ambassadors to Vietnam expressed surprise that the centre has become the subject of a land dispute.
“We are concerned to ensure that the commitments made to Animals Asia about the use of the land it was committed are upheld” said Australian Ambassador Allaster Cox
“Based on the pre-existing commitments, Animals Asia has made significant investments in the Bear Rescue Centre at Tam Dao and we hope that the authorities will uphold their commitment to Animals Asia to allow them to complete the whole project as planned,” he added.
“This project deserves full support. It is important for Vietnam to maintain the biodiversity of animal species and to preserve the beauty of its natural landscape,” said Bruno Angelet, Ambassador of Belgium.
“The Bear Rescue Centre is such a unique project. Its wonderful efforts to protect moon bears and biodiversity should be a source of pride for Vietnam. Hopefully this support will continue,” said Claire Pierangelo, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy.
The VBRC is managed by Animals Asia Foundation and is located in Tam Dao National Park. They have rescued 101 bears from bear farmers as of mid-2012.