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Reprieve for bear rescue centre in Vietnam

Published on Jan 16, 2013 1:54 PM

HANOI (AFP) - A sanctuary for bears rescued from the Asian bile trade which has been at the centre of a high-profile land dispute has been spared eviction by Vietnam's government, its director said on Wednesday.

The US$2 million (S$2.4 million) centre, in a national park, was told in July that it could face eviction, prompting a campaign backed by Mr Ricky Gervais and other celebrities to save it from what staff allege was a corruption-driven land grab.

The centre, home to more than 100 animals saved from so-called bile farms, will be allowed to "continue the project to build the Tam Dao bear sanctuary" in northern Vietnam, according to a government notice posted online late Tuesday.

The decision was made at a meeting Monday chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

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