Science & Medicine:Natural Sciences
The WildLife: Bear Bile Trade in Asia, Kaitlyn Foley
The poaching and illegal trade of bears is driven largely by the demand for their bile, which is used in traditional medicine and folk remedies. Research by TRAFFIC, published in the report Pills, Powders, Vials & Flakes: The bear bile trade in Asia, found bear bile products on sale in traditional medicine outlets in all but one (Macao) of the 13 countries/territories surveyed, suggesting a complex and robust trade in bear products. Of particular note were mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar and Viet Nam, where bear bile products were most frequently observed. While bile from bear farms in China is legal if sold domestically, TRAFFIC found this Chinese bear bile being illegal sold across the border. It also noted that “Mom & Pop” bear farms were popping up in Laos and Myanmar, making these countries new potential hubs for this trade.
Kaitlyn-Elizabeth Foley is a senior programme officer at TRAFFIC Southeast Asia. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Science in Primate Conservation from Oxford Brookes University. Her main research interests include wildlife trade, conservation, and animal behavior and welfare. For the past nine years, Kaitlyn has lived and worked abroad in Italy, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Most recently her work and research interest has been focused on the conservation and mitigation of trade in bears and the pet trade of mammals in Asia. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on June 20, 2011.
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