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Over 4,000 bears to be marked with electronic chips

Over 4,000 bears are currently being bred by families throughout Vietnam.

The Forestry Management Agency will begin attaching electronic chips to around 4,000 breeding bears in Vietnam in order to more strictly control breeding activities and protect wild animals.

The programme will be conducted in two phases. The first will begin in September with chips injected into around 2,000 bears in northern Ha Tay and Hai Phong provinces, central Nghe An and southern Binh Duong, where the highest number of breeding bears are recorded. The second phase will be implemented after phases one’s completion in remaining provinces and for bears not healthy enough for phase one. The programme will finish at the end of the year.

Managing breeding bears by electronic chips was carried out on a trial basis in HCM City and Tay Ninh province last year. By November 9, 2004, 356 bears in these localities were stuck with chips, including 339 in HCM City and 17 in Tay Ninh.

Funding for the programme comes from three sources: the World Animal Protection Association, the Forestry Management Agency and individual bear breeding provinces.

Over 4,000 bears are currently being bred by families throughout Vietnam. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, it would be costly and complicated if all bears were collected and reared by an agency. It is also irresponsible to release bears bred in captivity back into nature as they’ve lost food-seeking instincts, could easily come into conflict with humans and be caught again.

The micro-chips will help competent bodies to distinguish bred bears from wild bears and control the hunting and illegal transport of wild bears from forests to farms. After the programmes completion, any farm detected with wild bears will be prosecuted.

According to experts, thousands of bears are reared in farms in China, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea for gall exploitation. In March 2005, Vietnam signed an agreement with the World Society for the Protection of Animals to establish a task force to “close” farms rearing bears for gall.

According to Tran The Lien, Deputy Head of the Natural Preservation Department under the Forestry Management Agency, micro-chipping bred bears doesn’t mean that the State endorses the practice, but it does assist in their management and help put an end to hunting of wild bears.

vietnamnet - (22/08/2005)

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