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Rescue Center Saves 100 Black Bears

Asia's largest black bear rescue center in southwest China's Sichuan Province has saved over 100 black bears from bear farming, according to Jill Robinson, founder of the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF).

The black bear rescue center, financed by the AAF, has been cooperated with local governments to work towards the future elimination of bear farming in China and the promotion of herbal alternatives to bear bile.

The black bear rescue center was built last December in Longqiao Township in Chengdu City, capital of Sichuan Province, and can accommodate 150 black bears in an area of some 11 hectares.

After careful medical treatment, the rescued bears have recovered and are living in the center.

Bear bile has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for over 3,000 years and some impoverished farmers raise bears for their bile.

In 2000, the AAF, the China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Sichuan Provincial Forestry Department launched a campaign to save black bears.

The campaign aims to rescue 500 black bears from the bear farms within five years in Sichuan Province and promote the action across the nation in ten years to ultimately eliminate bear farming, Robinson said.

China's bear farms have been reduced to 30 from the original 100, with the number of bears in the farms cut to less than 2,000 from about 3,000, when the campaign started, said Chen Runsheng, secretary-general of the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2003)

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