Crime Doesn’t Pay: Wildlife Hotline Targets Bear Bile
An Animal Rights Article from


World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
April 2009

A Wildlife Crime Hotline run by Vietnamese member society Education for Nature (ENV) is getting real results for bears. Tapping into public determination to stop the bear bile trade, tip offs have led to bears being removed from bear farms.

Radio, television and print advertising for the WSPA-funded hotline are clear: the bear bile trade is based on extreme cruelty and buying or selling products made from bears is illegal.

Most farmed bears are poached as cubs and held in tiny cages for the rest of their lives. The public can help prevent this by reporting any advertising they see for bear bile products to the hotline.

Although now banned in Vietnam, there have been reports of bile extraction from captive bears continuing. WSPA and ENV are working to help the authorities improve enforcement.

Watch advertisements for the hotline (WARNING: these clips contain graphic images and sounds of bears in distress) Ad 1 and Ad 2

Huge response

The Vietnamese government is committed to ending the bear bile trade, and advertising bear products – used in traditional medicines and cosmetics – is now illegal.

While some advertising persists, the public are reporting it to the Wildlife Crime Hotline in ever increasing numbers, proving that this cruelty is not part of local culture.

Herbal alternatives are available for traditional medicines, and there is strong grassroots feeling against the farming of bears.

Direct public engagement sends a message to the bear bile farmers: your products’ popularity is waning fast.

Getting results for bear welfare

Working with local governments, ENV have so far managed to remove over half of the illegal advertising reported. The remaining cases are with the authorities.

The hotline is complementary to ENV’s other work, helping inform their investigations into the international bear bile trade.

Tip offs to the hotline have even helped the authorities find and confiscate bears that have been used for bile after the 2005 country-wide ban on new bears being brought into farms.

In 2008, three bears were confiscated and removed from acutely distressing circumstances as a result of calls to the Wildlife Crime Hotline.

They are now being cared for at sanctuaries run by the Animals Asia Foundation and the Soc Son Wild Animal Rescue Center.

Help us protect bears

The Vietnamese government’s commitment to ending bear farming is the first stage in making this cruel trade part of the country’s history.

Alongside our member societies, WSPA is working with the authorities to offer expert advice and ensure that this important animal welfare goal is achieved.

For more information, visit Animals Asia and see Snoopy Can See! founder of Animals Asia Jill Robinson's story about some bears rescued from the bear bile industry.

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