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FOUR PAWS activities and goals


In 2005 the Vietnamese government launched its first efforts to phase out the keeping and farming of bears for their bile. Thanks to the work of the Vietnamese government and law enforcement authorities, NGOs and increasing public awareness, the number of captive bears at farms reduced from approximately 4,300 in 2005 to about 1300 in 2015, a decrease of 72%. Success in ending the bile bear industry is vital to the survival of wild bear populations in Vietnam.


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A FOUR PAWS sanctuary is currently under construction and will soon be home to former bile bears.

A FOUR PAWS sanctuary for former bile bears is under construction

This remarkable progress is strongly appreciated in Vietnam as it ensures there is more sanctuary space to rescue bile bears. . This increased capacity will allow the Vietnamese authorities to make greater efforts in monitoring bears farms and allow for the immediate confiscation of ‘illegal’ bears with the knowledge that there is sanctuary capacity. Furthermore, an increase in sanctuary capacity in Vietnam will allow for greater efforts in encouraging bear farm owners ot voluntary give up their bears and allow them to live the remainder of their lives in a species appropriate manner.  


Closing the remaining farms and transferring all of the remaining bears to rescue centres and sanctuaries is definitely the vision for the next 3 years in Vietnam. The FOUR PAWS sanctuary will be able to receive its first bears from mid 2017 with the ultimate goal of being able to house and care for 100 bile bears. If the Vietnamese Government, responsible authorities and relevant partners implement the measures suggested below we are convinced that an end to all bear farming in Vietnam can be achieved by 2020


A rescued bear enjoying his life in a hammock.

What FOUR PAWS does to help bears in Vietnam:

To reach our goal, we are taking the following measures:


  • FOUR PAWS provide  financial and technical assistance to existing wild animal sanctuaries, such as the state-run "Wildlife Rescue Centre Soc Son" near Hanoi, to improve the living conditions of the 16 former bile bears living there. With our help, a new facility with a 1000 square metres big outdoor enclosure was constructed. The generously equipped facility features a grassed area, places to hide away, water pools, and play objects, which the keepers regularly stuff with food to keep the bears busy.


  • FOUR PAWS currently work with  the Vietnamese government and in coalition with local partners Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) in implementing a roadmap to end bear farming by 2020.


  • FOUR PAWS work on  public awareness campaigns both in Vietnam and internationally to help in demand reduction of bile products and to ensure the issue of bear farming is addressed appropriately as an animal welfare crisis with implications on wildlife trade and the conservation of wild bears in Vietnam and across Asia. .


  • FOUR PAWS is building  its own bear sanctuary, open to the public, in northern Vietnam, for at least 100 former bile bears. The sanctuary which will be able to take its first bears in mid-2017 will be a species-appropriate new home for the bears.


FOUR PAWS wishes to express its appreciation for the work of other NGOs that have already been able to help Vietnam’s bile bears, and that continue to fight for the rescue of all bile bears in Vietnam. 


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