Bear poaching and illegal trade

The trade in wild bear gall bladders, Singapore

Bile and body parts, taken from bears using horrifically inhumane means, feed an illegal trade in bear products which extends worldwide.

Bear farming makes bile easy to produce in large quantities, meaning bile products currently remain profitable despite alternatives being available.

The sad reality is that this market encourages illegal trading and threatens the existence of wild bears.

Hunted and exploited

In some countries, wild bear populations are under threat from poachers.

Poachers will hunt and remove bears from their natural habitat, and deliver them into a life of pain and suffering in the bear farms.

The industry has failed to produce credible evidence that bear farming "protects" wild bear populations. Farmed bears have not been and cannot be re-introduced to the wild.

A cultural belief that wild bear gall bladders are of higher quality than those from farmed bears keeps the cost of wild bear products high, meaning poaching and exporting them is lucrative.

Fuelling an illegal trade

It is illegal to commercially export bear parts, including gall bladders and bile, under the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

But WSPA investigators have revealed that some Asian bear farmers do export their products across the world.

To combat illegal trade in bear bile and body parts, WSPA has launched bear protein detection kits developed by Wildlife DNA Services, a specialist wildlife forensics organization.

The detection kits, currently being trialed in Australia and Canada, will be used by customs and wildlife officers. They are easy to use, working similarly to home pregnancy testing kits.

Act now to protect bears

Bear products are on sale in many countries. If you use Traditional Asian Medicine, check no bear products are used by your practitioner. 

Please give WSPA your support so we can continue to work towards an end to bear farming and realise our vision of a world free from animal cruelty. 

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