ACRES Lao Zoo MOU signing ceremony
After 29 months of negotiations and networking, ACRES has finally taken that monumental first step towards ending bear farming in Lao PDR.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between ACRES and the Lao Zoo at the Lao PDR Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set up the first ACRES bear and wildlife rescue centre in Vientiane. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Mr K. Shanmugam, and Lao PDR Deputy Prime Minister, H.E Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith. Various representatives from the Lao PDR government, Mr. Dileep Niar, the Singapore Ambassador to Lao PDR, and Ms. Angela Dickey, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Lao PDR, were also present to witness the grand ceremony.
In partnership with Love Wildlife Foundation, a 5-hectare ACRES Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre will be built adjacent to the Lao Zoo, situated 60km north of Vientiane capital. The 5-year agreement will mainly focus on providing a sanctuary for bears who have been enslaved in bear farms throughout the country. An education centre will also be set up to benefit the Lao community and beyond.
The cruel bear farming industry condemns thousands of bears to life in cages so tiny that they can hardly move around. Bile is painfully drained daily from their bodies. ACRES will also be offering management advice to Lao Zoo to assist them in providing a world-class environment for animals to live in. A wildlife crime hotline, similar to Singapore’s, will also be set up soon.
With this new centre, there is new hope for these bears and other wildlife. They will be given a chance to live in an environment as close to nature as possible. Healthy individuals may even be released back into the jungles of Lao PDR!
We are grateful to Love Wildlife Foundation, the Lao Zoo and the Lao PDR government, as well as to all who have supported us to make this dream a reality.