Taegyu Choi
Pouring water for bears in a hot summer day Author: Project Moon Bear
2022

Taegyu Choi

Veterinarian

Bile farms to bear sanctuaries

meet taegyu

Taegyu Choi became a veterinarian in 2007 and had been treating livestock for about 10 years when he went to the University of Edinburgh to study animal welfare. He earned a MSC in Applied Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare in 2018 and returned to Korea where he founded the non-profit organization, Project Moon Bear, to end bear-bile farming in Korea. This bear sanctuary provides restorative justice in terms of reflection on the historical human-animal relationship in Korea. He is now pursuing his PhD at Seoul National University, with an interest in animal welfare and this relationship.

Bile farms to bear sanctuaries
Nominated by: Joshua Powell FI'16
Class of 2022 Location Korea
Using blow-gun for anesthesia for treat a sick bear
Using blow-gun for anesthesia for treat a sick bear Author: Project Moon Bear

Asian black bears on the Korean Peninsula have been steadily hunted for their bile, an oriental medicine. In the 20th century, demands for it increased. As a solution to prevent extinction, the Korean government began raising bears. As the public’s education reduced the demand for bear bile, farmed bears became neglected. Animal welfare groups have grown to a considerable size, but the actions necessary for farm bears has been delayed as this discourse has not been the social norm in Korea.

“The bear sanctuary doesn’t just improve the welfare of a few bears; it is expected that it will play a role in raising an alarm about the wildlife industry that will continue into the future, by reflecting on the past use of wild animals in Korea with a forward looking perspective.”

- Taegyu Choi

I thought that what animals really needed should be the main issue for solving the bear farming problem. I insisted on the necessity for a sanctuary, from the viewpoint of the welfare of captive wildlife, and called for solidarity with civic groups. As a result, there will be a bear sanctuary in Korea starting in 2022. The bear sanctuary doesn’t just improve the welfare of a few bears; it is expected that it will play a role in raising an alarm about the wildlife industry that will continue into the future, by reflecting on the past use of wild animals in Korea with a forward looking perspective.

I strive to make Project Moon Bear where our activists can be in touch with each other in their daily experiences. I believe this effort will also be passed on to our supporters.

there are 49 other visionary explorers

read about class of 2022