China: 5 Bears Killed, 6 Suspects Arrested

Five Asiatic black bears were killed for their gallbladders and paws, in the Changbai Mountain area near the border of China and North Korea.

Five Asiatic black bears — also known as moon bears — were found massacred on Changbai Mountain in China’s Jilin Province.

The tragedy was brought to the attention of authorities by wildlife blogger Hu Donglin, according to AsiaOne.

Jilin police arrested six suspects and confiscated a shotgun, ammunition, and two “homemade explosive devices”. They said the bears were killed by the explosive devices.

The suspects had already sold the bears’ gallbladders and paws.

Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) are protected under Class 2 of China’s Wildlife Protection Law, but a “limited number” of permits are issued to kill “nuisance bears”.

Although bear “farms” were established in China to “meet the demand” for bear bile (extracted from the gallbladder), wildlife trade experts note that the scheme has instead created additional demand (along with a surplus of bear bile). This booming bear bile industry has “spurred efforts to find markets in non-traditional uses of bile” such as lotions and shampoos.

In addition, since many users and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine “believe that bile from wild bears is more effective at healing various ailments, and are thus willing to pay higher prices for this product”, bear farming has not reduced the killing of wild bears.


Image by Jamil via Wikimedia Commons

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.