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Seven Asiatic Black Bears Rescued After 17 Years in Confinement

Seven Asiatic black bears, also known as moon bears, have been rescued from farms just a few hours outside of Saigon.

Four Paws Vietnam Foundation, an NGO, rescued one bear on Thursday and another six on Friday, with most of the bears being kept in captivity for 17 years, VnExpress reports.

The animals had been kept in cramped cages and were in poor health. Many are suffering from multiple health issues, such as inflamed gall bladders, hair loss, and damaged eyes and limbs. One had even lost a paw.

The seven bears will be transported from southern Vietnam all the way up to the Ninh Binh Bear Conservation Facility, which is run by Four Paws.

Although progress has been made in recent years, there are still about 450 bears living in desperate conditions on farms across the nation. Many are kept for bear bile farming, as some Vietnamese believe the substance has medicinal properties.

Commercial bear bile farming was banned in Vietnam in 2005, yet farmers who owned bears before the ban was introduced were allowed to keep them.

Nguyen Ngoc Tien, who owns the farm that the group of six bears was rescued from, voluntarily gave up the animals, but there are another 12 bears still being kept by different owners in the area.

Vietnam is a hotspot for wildlife trafficking. In July this year, authorities discovered one of Southeast Asia's largest-ever hauls of trafficked rhino horns encased in plaster at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. In the same week, they also found seven frozen tiger carcasses that a Vietnamese gang had transported from Laos to Vietnam.

[Photo via World Animal Protection]

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