Bus tours to the last two bear bile farms in Ha Long Bay have finally ended in an effort to end Vietnam’s bear farm tourism industry, reported Education for Nature – Vietnam.
There were originally six bear bile farms in Ha Long Bay where dozens of tourists, mainly Korean, were shown the bile extraction process and were then invited to illegally buy some.
Thanks to months of campaigning and the creation of taskforces to monitor the farms and make sure no tourists got to them, the last two have now closed down for tourists completely.
The Quang Ninh Forest Protection Department said it will continue to monitor the farms to make sure bear bile tourism doesn’t restart.
“ENV’s efforts to remove bear bile products from rest stops targeting Korean tourists along the route to Ha Long Bay have also been successful, and the primary Korean business partner’s traditional medicine shop in Ha Long City has been closed,” reported ENV.
“This marks the beginning of the end for the bear bile tourism industry in Vietnam,” said ENV deputy director Nguyen Phuong Dung.
“The bold action of Quang Ninh authorities in addressing this issue in 2014 should send a clear message to bear farmers nationally; keeping bears for the extraction of bear bile is a dying industry opposed by the majority of the people of Vietnam, and a sad relic of the past that will be eradicated from society.”
“The success of the campaign is a great example of how authorities, the media, members of the public and civil society can get together and accomplish something great,” Dung added.
There is an estimated 4,000 bile bears in Vietnam and about 9,000 in China.