A man in Da Nang Tuesday handed over a bear he had held captive for 10 years for an animal rights organization to send it to a sanctuary in northern Vietnam.
Hong Kong-based Animals Asia said it is a 13-year-old female weighing more than 200 kilograms.
The bear’s health has been checked and she will make a trip of 800 kilometers to the charity’s bear sanctuary at Tam Dao National Park not far from Hanoi.
She is in good condition except for several decayed teeth and feet callouses.
“This bear has been caged for an awfully long time and we look forward to changing that,” Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia Vietnam director, said in a statement on the group’s website.
“We assume that the bear has been kept to extract bile, but we won’t know for sure until we can run proper medical tests.”
The bear, named Chau after the Da Nang village where she grew up, is the 162nd rescued by Animals Asia in Vietnam.
Last year the group rescued 41 bears, including 33 in Quang Ninh Province, which was the bear bile industry’s epicenter. Many owners handed over their animals voluntarily after the government banned the bile business.
There are still around 1,200 bears caged in Vietnam for bile extraction for use in traditional medicine, and more than 10,000 in China.