“Cycling to Promote Bear Conservation in 2014”

More than 100 Vietnamese and foreigners have joined in the program “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014”, during which they took a 132km trip by bicycle from Hanoi to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC) in Tam Dao National Park in northern Vinh Phuc Province.

The program is aimed at calling for communities to make great effort to protect the bears, ensuring that these animals live in a safe and green environment.
Participants in the trip gathered in Nghia Do Park in Hanoi at 5.30am and then cycled through Me Linh, Phuc Yen and Vinh Yen to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC) in Tam Dao National Park. 

A little boy participates in the programme “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014”. Photo: Van Quyen/VNP

The uniform of the participants of the programme “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014”. Photo: Van Quyen/VNP

Participants of the programme “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014” pose for a souvenir photo before starting their trip.
Photo: Van Quyen/VNP
They arrived at the centre at 10.30am and saw with their own eyes how the rescued bears are being taken care of.
The centre’s staff introduced to visitors the life of the bears and how the animals would feel when trapped on farms for illegal bile extraction. With this useful information, the visitors would learn more about the bears and find a better way to protect them.

The VBRC presently provides care for 110 bears within a semi-natural setting. With its expansive 12-hectare area, the facility features separate sections dedicated to the well-being and rehabilitation of bears rescued from illicit bear farms involved in nationwide bile extraction operations.

The bear sanctuary houses a diverse and compelling group of bears, each with their own unique and inspiring story. One notable resident is Dream Mischa, who holds the distinction of being the 100th bear to be rescued and brought to the sanctuary. Another remarkable bear is Jasper, who endured an unimaginable 15 years of illegal bile extraction before finally finding solace and safety within the sanctuary’s walls. Despite his past hardships, Jasper has since undergone a transformation, becoming a gentle and cherished member of the bear community. His remarkable journey has even been featured in two heartwarming children’s books.

Then there’s Zebedee, who spent a grueling 14 years confined to a dark and humid house, enduring a broken jaw and painful teeth that made eating a constant challenge. Thanks to the dedicated care and support provided by the sanctuary, Zebedee has been given a new lease on life. He now roams freely and independently, able to exercise his natural instincts to hunt for food. The sanctuary has truly provided him with the freedom and opportunity to heal and thrive.

Foreigners also participate in the programme. Photo: Van Quyen/VNP

Showing the way for the programme participants.

Participants of the programme are feeling excited despite being tired from a long trip.
Photo: Van Quyen/VNP

Nguyen Tuan Minh, a 6-year-old, is the youngest participant in the program.

Volunteer advocating for bear conservation at Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre
A passionate volunteer shares their advocacy for bear conservation at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in the beautiful Tam Dao National Park. Photo credit: Van Quyen/VNP.

Children are captivated by teddy bears.

The representative of the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, on the right, presents a gift to a participant of the “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014” program.

Photo: Van Quyen/VNP

Touring the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre

Touring the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre.

Photo by Van Quyen/VNP.

Foreign tourists are seen engaged in an educational session on the rescue and care activities for bears at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park. (Photo: Van Quyen/VNP)

Participants of the “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014” program pose for a commemorative photo prior to embarking on their journey. (Photo: Van Quyen/VNP)

Watching the bears play in the green grassy field, participants in the “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014” tour were very happy. Some of them took pictures of the animals and posted them on their Facebook accounts, with the hope of attracting more attention from the community to protect the bears.
The Tam Dao Bear Rescue Centre is the only rescue centre in Vietnam dedicated solely to rescuing bears from illegal bile farms. Since opening in 2008, it has received financial support from the organisation, ‘Animals Asia’.
The centre opens for visitors twice a day, at 9.30 am and 2pm and each tour lasts from one to one and a half hours. The centre’s staff can speak Vietnamese and English when explaining things to visitors. Every day, 85 people are working hard to tend the bears and secure a living environment for them.
Nguyen Bao Ngoc, a member of ‘Animals Asia’ said, “Cycling for Bear Protection 2014” is more useful than previous ones because there are more children participating in. This proves the need for getting out information to protect the bears.”
Story: Bich Van – Photos: Van Quyen