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Captive black bears to be released into wild in Vietnam

Seven Asiatic black bears will be returned to their wild habitat after being deemed too large to keep in cages in Vietnam, AFP reports.

The bears had been used for bear bile production, an inhumane and illegal - yet still widespread - practice in Asia. In this industry, bears are frequently kept in poor conditions so the liquid from their gall bladders can be extracted and sold for use in traditional medicine, according to Animals Asia Foundation.

The bears that will be released in Vietnam were given to the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cat Tien National Park in the southern part of the country. They will stay there until they are ready to be released, though officials do not yet know when they will be.

"It will take us lots of time and effort to prepare them for the wild as they have got used to an environment with human beings around," Nguyen Van Cuong, an official from the centre, told AFP.

Asiatic bears, also known as Himalayan or moon bears, are classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List because of illegal killing, trade of bear parts and loss of habitat, the news outlet reports. 
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