Bear Chinh in his cage in Vietnam

Last Bear From Bear Farm in Binh Duong Province Rescued

Bear Chinh is freed from his cage after two decades of captivity 


Sydney, 13 May 2024 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has successfully rescued the last bear kept on a bear farm in the Binh Duong province of Vietnam on 10 May. The bear farm will now close forever. Asiatic black bear Chinh was voluntarily handed over by his owner, marking the end of two decades of captivity.  The experts at his new home, BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, which is run by FOUR PAWS, will provide him with all the care he needs to ensure a smooth transition into his new habitat. Most likely Chinh was still a cub when he was first microchipped and registered at the bear farm in 2005. He had been living in a tiny cage ever since, deprived of living out any natural behaviour. Vietnam is undergoing positive change, with owners voluntarily handing over their bears. However, stricter efforts are required to end bear farming once and for all.

Bear Chinh has arrived safely at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh after a two-day journey and is getting some rest. An experienced wildlife veterinarian from the sanctuary accompanied the whole transfer and took care of his wellbeing. Chinh is now in a 30-day quarantine, which is essential to protect the other resident bears from potential disease transfer. At his new home, the experienced team is closely monitoring his health and provide him with intensive veterinary care, an appropriate diet and diverse enrichments to settle at the sanctuary.

“Chinh was calm during his rescue and has already taken some food from us, like bananas. Years of living in a cage have left deep marks on his body: Chinh developed severe cornification on his footpads from standing on metal bars, hair loss on his head from stereotypical behaviour and fractured upper canines.  From observation, we assume that he has typical diseases related to bile farming, but we will perform a full health check under anaesthesia, including a blood test, X-ray and more at our sanctuary veterinary clinic,”

Lesley Halter-Gölkel, veterinarian at BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh

The amount of bear farms is decreasing in Vietnam but there is still much to do

Since 2005, bears can only be legally kept on bear farms in Vietnam if they are microchipped and registered. Bile extraction is illegal. Significant improvements have been made throughout the years as 46 out of 63 provinces are currently bear farm-free. Voluntary handovers of bears by their owners have contributed positively to these efforts. Many of these rescued bears find refuge in sanctuaries run by FOUR PAWS, the government or other NGOs but the numbers of bears that are still in captivity and in need of a species-appropriate home remain high.

“While most provinces in Vietnam have made great progress in ending the cruel practice of bear bile farming, sadly some like Hanoi are trailing behind. Hanoi remains the biggest bear bile farming hotspot in Vietnam. As of April 2024, there are still 200 bears being kept on 63 farms suffering in unthinkable keeping conditions. With the help of our local partners, we will continue to advocate for these bears and their chance for a better life,” says Magdalena Scherk-Trettin, Wild Animal Rescue & Advocacy Senior Project Manager at FOUR PAWS.

BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh: A species-appropriate home for rescued bears 

FOUR PAWS has been working with local partners since 2017 to rescue as many bears as possible from their sad fate. With its bear sanctuary in Ninh Binh, FOUR PAWS is supporting the Vietnamese government to contribute to an end of bear farming and provide a species-appropriate home for rescued bears. BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh is not only a safe home for former bile bears and bears that are victims of the illegal wildlife trade, but also, an awareness and education centre for wildlife conservation in Vietnam. Currently it houses 45 Asiatic black bears. Asiatic black bears are native to Vietnam and on the brink of local extinction because of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade where demand for their parts and derivatives remains.

Asiatic black bear in a cage

End The Bear Farming in Vietnam

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.

Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.

With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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