Sun bear rescued from illegal trade in central Vietnam

TN News

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Ramped up police investigations into the illegal wildlife trade in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong have yielded a live sun bear and a trove of wild animal parts over the last two months.

The latest finds occurred on Wednesday (January 22) when police raided the house of Pham Gia Hai in Dak R’Lap District’s Kien Duc Town.

Police seized elephant bones, bear claws, bile and teeth, wild boar teeth, stuffed wild cats, deer, lorises, weasels and squirrels. They also confiscated parts of deer and moose species believed to have come from abroad.

On January 15, Dak Nong police handed over a protected sun bear to forest protection authorities after seizing it from illegal captivity late last year.

Thanks to tip-offs from local residents, Dak R’lap District police stopped a man while he was carrying the bear on his motorbike in Kien Duc Town on December 23 last year.

The man named Vu Van Ba, 45, a resident of Ho Chi Minh City, confessed to police that he was transporting the 12-kilogram sun bear to the city.

He said he had bought the bear from a local Dak Nong woman named Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh, 35, for VND15 million (US$711).

Ba and Linh were apprehended for further investigations on charges of “illegally keeping and trading in wild animals.”

The bear was then handed over to the Dak Nong Forest Protection Department.

The world’s smallest species of bear, the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In China and Vietnam, bile is milked from commercially-farmed bears; however, as there are few sun bears in China, farms there contain mainly moon bears.

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