A Vietnamese NGO has called on the government not to compromise with "greedy" bear farm owners who asked to be paid in exchange for the release of exhausted bears.
The farm owners based in Quang Ninh Province, home to Vietnam's world heritage Ha Long Bay, have starved their bears since last year, local media reported. Up to 108 bears died of starvation, malnutrition and exhaustion in 2014, Lao Dong newspaper reported.
The owners claimed that they had no money to feed the animals after the government banned bile bear tourism, and have proposed that they'd be paid VND40-50 million (US$1,867-2,334) for each bear to be handed over to authorities.
But according to Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV), those owners simply have not given up on trying to make money from their dying bears.
“This only further shows the greed of these businessmen that have profited while violating the law for so many years,” ENV said in a release.
The bear bile business thrived in Quang Ninh before 2014 thanks to busloads of Korean and Chinese tourists.
In May 2014, the provincial government banned private bear farms from extracting bear bile to sell to tourists.
ENV said in the release it expected the authorities not to compromise with bear owners and immediately confiscate and transfer the remaining captive bears in Ha Long to the Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary or a suitable alternative without compensation.