Last week allowed JMICAWE's veterinarian Heather Bacon to get back in the field with work at the Hanoi zoo, Thu Le wild animal park, and Animals Asia Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC). At the Hanoi zoo, she teamed up with a vet and nurse from VBRC to perform dental extractions on two bears with horribly fractured teeth. We ran the session as a teaching exercise, involving the eleven Hanoi zoo vets in various clinical procedures and discussing our approach to anaesthesia, analgesia and dental extractions with them.
Next it was up to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, an incredible sanctuary where bears rescued from trade and bile farms are rescued and rehabilitated after extensive medical and behavioural therapy. Here we anaesthetised three bears all with gallstones inside painful and inflamed gall bladders – a legacy of the horrific bear bile trade. Fortunately bears cope very well without their gallbladders and Heather was able to train the VBRC vets in this uncommon surgery to remove the gallbladders, all of which showed signs of repeated bile extraction.
Back in Hanoi we welcomed over 70 International delegates to the Advancing Bear Care workshop (www.bearcaregroup.org ) focused specifically on the care and rehabilitation of bears in the Asia region, and including delegates from Vietnamese rescue centres and zoos. The workshop featured presentations from a variety of organisations in the region and highlighted the need for collaborative strategies to address the welfare and conservation issues generated by the illegal wildlife trade.