In this full-length episode of RodMcNeil.TV, join Rod as he tours the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, 40km from the capital Phnom Penh, where 21 forested enclosures have been built over 7 hectares to house a mixture of Sun bears and Asiatic black bears of different ages and personalities.
Cambodia is home to 14 globally endangered species, including the Asiatic black bear, Malaysian sun bear, Asian elephant, Indochinese tiger and the Pileated gibbon. There are various national parks and protected forests in Cambodia, however, land encroachment, illegal logging and wildlife poaching gravely threatens all of these protected areas.
Keeping or poaching bears is illegal in Cambodia and despite recent efforts to increase penalties both hunting and killing of sun bear and Asiatic black bear continues. Free the Bears Fund has been working with the Cambodian Forestry Administration since 1997 to provide a sanctuary for confiscated bears at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre.
More From the “Free The Bears” official website:
In 1993, whilst watching a current affairs TV program in Perth, Mary Hutton saw a segment that would change her life and hundreds of others. The segment contained horrifying footage of Asiatic Black bears held in coffin sized cages unable to move or turn with dirty catheters inserted directly into their gall bladder. Mary learned that thousands of bears were being held in these horrifying conditions throughout Asia, regularly milked for their bile to feed the demand for bear bile to be used in traditional medicine. Gall bladders and bile have been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries, however the commercial farming of bears began recently in Korea during the 1980’s so that the bears could be milked for their bile repeatedly throughout their lives.
The next day, Mary drew up a petition and stood at the entrance of the local shopping mall collecting signatures to help “Free the Bears”. Within months, she had thousands of signatures, a regular group of like-minded supporters which became a committee, and plans to build on the momentum that had gathered into a force to help bears throughout the world. On the 23rd March 1995 Free the Bears Fund was registered as a not — for- profit charity. Word of Mary’s work spread as she delivered petitions to the Chinese Embassy in Canberra surrounded by schoolchildren and organised raffles, film nights and other events to raise awareness about the plight of Asia’s bears. Memberships and merchandise were sold to raise funds for overseas projects as requests for help started to arrive in the post…