The Animals Asia Foundation has worked with Vietnamese schools to increase the awareness of teachers and students about bear protection. Students have participated in a model of planting herbs that can replace bear gall.
Doctor Tuan Bendixsen, Director of the Vietnam Bear Rescue Center, said, “Our communications are aimed at changing the younger generation’s awareness. We hope to inspire them to protect bears.”
Children have been encouraged to draw pictures of bears and make posters calling for wildlife conservation. The Animals Asia Foundation plans to expand cooperation with schools to get school children to publicize bear protection to their families and community and end the use of bear gall in Vietnam.
The Foundation together with the Vietnam Bear Rescue Center, and the Nature Education Center have organized exhibitions, collected signatures of commitment to bear protection and handed over captured bears to conservation agencies. These efforts have paid off. Last month, a bear-raising household in Tien Giang province handed over five bears to the rescue center. Since early this year, the rescue center has received six bears from Lam Dong, Ho Chi Minh City, Ninh Binh and Can Tho. Ninh Binh province and Can Tho city were recently added to list of 22 localities that no longer raise bears in cages.
In 2005, more than 4,300 bears were illegally caged in Vietnam. That number has now fallen to 850.