Have you ever been to Halong Bay?

I’ve read many of my fellow travel bloggers’ stories from this enchanting place in Vietnam and for a long time I’ve longed to go there, to taste the delicious cuisine, to learn about local culture, to witness its breathtaking natural beauty and to sail across Halong Bay.

But, as I found out recently, there is a darker side to Halong Bay, that I’m sure no tourists or travellers know anything about.

Halong Bay

above: Halong Bay by Jayne Gorman, featured image courtesy of Animals Asia.

Moon Bear Bile Farming

I can clearly remember how I first came across Animals Asia, a couple of years ago and learnt about the horrors of bear bile farming. I had been admiring the work of wildlife painter Joanna May, who has supported many wildlife projects over the years, including Animals Asia. I watched a video which quite literally broke my heart. I’d never even heard of Asian Black Bears before or moon bears as they have been nicknamed because of the cream crescent under their chins.

I’ve been a supporter of Animals Asia ever since I saw that first video. From what I have learnt since they are adorable, fun-loving bears but many never get the chance to live the lives they should.

In Vietnam and China the bile from these bears is highly sort after to be used in traditional Chinese Medicine. Young bears are put into cages where they spend the rest of their lives attached to a tube through which bile is collected. These beautiful bears can never stand up, let alone run around, unless they are rescued by Animals Asia.

The videos of the bears in the bile farms will break your heart, so please don’t watch this if you think it will upset you too much – it’s gruesome – you don’t need to watch it to support the moon bears.

 

The videos of the rescued bears, on the other hand, are an absolute joy to watch.

The Bears of Halong Bay

Towards the end of last year Animals Asia were able to visit the bile farm in Halong Bay where they found 27 moon bears living in terrible conditions. Since their visit 4 have already died and they believe the remaining 23 bears are literally at death’s door. I’m adding my voice to their campaign and have signed a petition to the Vietnamese Prime Minister to close Cau Trang bear bile farm and release the bears into the care of Animals Asia. They already have the facilities to look after the remaining critically ill bears in their sanctuary.

I’m calling on the travel blogging community (many of whom have been or like me, long to go to Halong Bay) and to all of you to add your voice to this campaign.

Please sign the petition, tweet about it, share it on Facebook
and help Animals Asia to save the Halong Bay Bears.

Sign now here

Update: April 2015

Fabulous news! Thanks to everyone who signed this petition, as you will see from Cid’s comment below, the Halong Bears are going to be saved. When I read Cid’s words I could have cried with happiness. You can read more about this and follow the bears’ progress on Animals Asia’s website.

 

Join my 'Behind the Scenes' newsletter

Delivered monthly to your inbox with all my behind the scenes news, latest posts and giveaways exclusive to my subscribers.

 
 

Travel Planning Resources


Please note that most of the following links are affiliate links which means that if you click on the link, I may be paid a small commission. You can find out more about affiliate links in my Disclaimer.

 

Travel Insurance

I never travel without insurance. If something unexpected goes wrong the costs implications are just too high to take the risk. World Nomads provides travel insurance to travellers from over 130 countries. They're the perfect choice for long term travellers or single trip insurance.

 

Travel clothes for women

Check out my guide to all my favourite travel clothes for women.

 

Book your hotel or package holiday

TripAdvisor is my preferred hotel search engine. They compare all the top sites to find you the best deal. I also use Airbnb ($31 discount) for booking rooms/apartments.

 

Book your flight

Skyscanneris my preferred flight search engine. I'd recommend them for finding the best deals on flights.

Rent a car

Discover Carsis a great site for comparing car hire prices to help you find the best deal. They search both local and international rental companies.

 

Book an experience

When I’m travelling, especially to a new city, I use Viator and Get Your Guide to book tours and excursions. You can't beat a good food tour to introduce you to a new city!

 

Don’t forget your travel adaptor

Worldwide travel adaptors are perfect no matter where you are travelling from or to. Buy this one from the US or this one from the UKIt’s pretty much the only one you’ll ever need. Please note that as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

 
 

Pin It on Pinterest

More in Asia, Soap Box, Sustainable Tourism, Wildlife
Responsible Bucket Lists
Time to rethink your bucket list and travel more responsibly

With Christmas come and gone and the new year under way, now is the time that many people start thinking about their...

Close