Captive bear bit off toddler's arm in Vietnam

Thanh Nien News

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Bui Xuan Vuong, a 28-month-old boy, is in intensive care at Quang Ninh General Hospital after losing his arm in a bear attack on April 28 / PHOTO COURTESY OF QUANG NINH'S NEWS WEBSITE
A 28-month old boy lost his forearm after being attacked by a bear kept in captivity at his home on Monday in the resort town of Ha Long, where many illegal bile farms operate to serve tourists.
According to authorities, Bui Xuan Vuong was playing at home when he apparently walked to the bear cage and put his left arm into it.
The bear bit off his forearm and continued to gnaw it in the cage.
Vuong was rushed to Quang Ninh General Hospital with a severe loss of blood.
Doctors were quoted as saying that the boy received blood transfusion and anti-infective treatment to his injured arm, but they could not re-attach his forearm since it was severely damaged.
The report said the animal was one of two bears raised by Vuong’s grandfather Bui Van Ba, and the animals’ cages were located next to the family’s house.
Local authorities are investigating the legality of Ba’s bear farm.
The man was reported to have raised bears since 2005 with six animals at first.
Last September, a similar bear attack was reported in the northern province of Phu Tho with a five-year-old boy having his arms bitten off by a moon bear.
A report by Quang Ninh’s forest rangers department early this year showed that some 27 farms with a total of 245 bears were operational across the province.
In Ha Long, where 210 bears were kept in captivity, the illegal practice of bile extraction was rampant, regardless of local authorities’ efforts to crack down on it over years, it said.
Bear bile extraction was outlawed in 1992, though people are allowed to keep the animals as pets.
In 2005 the government issued a directive permitting people to retain bears as tourist attractions but prohibiting further acquisition. Thanks to this legal loophole, some bear farms continue to extract bile and sell to Korean and Chinese visitors.
Extracted from the bear’s gall bladder, bile is commonly used in traditional medicine. Some 100ml is drawn at a time and sold at US$3-6 per milliliter.
Around 3,500 bears are held in captivity in Vietnam, mostly in the north, according to official figures.

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