Vietnam's Illegal Back Room Bears
Vietnam stocked farms from the wild causing Ursus thibetanus populations to crash by >60% in the last 30 years. Although people are allowed to keep bears, bile extraction became illegal in 1992 with microchipping initiated to prevent poaching in 2005. This project exposed how 1kg cubs are trafficked from neighbouring Laos to be reared in humid, windowless back rooms in Vietnam. International trade in a species that has CITES Appendix I protection breaks top-level international legislation.
Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference
Vietnam's Deputy Agriculture Minister states "we don’t have enough intelligence and evidence to deal with the crimes" despite 95% of farmers admitting to extracting bile in a 2018 survey. With Tuan Bendixsen from Animals Asia revealing “video evidence obtained by anyone else is not submittable in court” frustration is high. The Conference on IWT does raise awareness but Rosa Indenbaum from TRAFFIC says this is "driving trade into less visible places" making the industry "storefront cleansed."