Bear populations have declined dramatically throughout Vietnam since the mid-1990’s. At this time the use of heavy wire snares became widespread and the bear bile farming industry expanded rapidly, creating high demand for wild-caught bears. Several large-scale camera trapping projects in recent years have confirmed the continued survival of Asiatic black bears in Central and Northern Vietnam. However, the last known camera trap image of a sun bear in Vietnam was captured almost 20 years ago, in Cat Tien National Park in Southern Vietnam.
Fresh bear sign, recorded by forest rangers in the national park in February 2020, gives hope for the on-going survival of wild sun bears at this site. This project, carried out by Free the Bears, will use baited camera traps in the vicinity of the fresh bear sign to confirm the presence of sun bears, Asiatic black bears, or potentially both at this site. A confirmed record of a sun bear has the potential to garner much needed support for the conservation of this species; which is almost certainly on the brink of extinction in Vietnam.