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Illegal Killing and Trafficking of Black Bears Essay

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Illegal Killing and Trafficking of Black Bears

The illegal killing and trafficking of animal parts has long been a global concern. With trading at an estimated 6 billion dollars annually, poaching has become the world’s second most profitable crime activity behind illegal drug trade. In its prevalence, poaching has driven many species to the point of extinction.

Animals around the world are killed each day for their body parts. In Africa, elephant tusks are a valuable source of ivory used in jewelry. Moreover, the horns of rhinoceros could command up to $5,000 in the black market. The mothers of newborn mountain gorillas are often killed so that their young ones could be shipped to foreign countries for research or display.
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A known compound found in bile, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), has been used in western medicine to treat liver disorders. A gall can command up to $10,000 in east Asia. Its price is about 20 times the street price of cocaine per ounce. Globally, the market in bear parts is estimated at $2 billion.

For obvious reasons, bears have become increasingly rare. Five of the eight bear species in the world are endangered. In Korea, where they were ounce abundant, black bears are virtually extinct now with a population between 20 to 300. The population of bears in Russia is dwindling rapidly as a result of gall trafficking by the Russian Mafia. Bear populations have decreased to the point that China is now using bear farms to obtain gall. Bears are kept cruelly in small cages that are often fitted to their body so that they cannot move. A steel catheter surgically implanted to their gall bladder removes bile from their bodies daily. However, instead of saving bears as claimed, bear farms have only instigated poaching by increasing demands for gall.

As bear populations decreased in Asia, more traffickers turned to North America where there are a considerable number of bears. Although poaching also occurs in the United States, the problem appears to be worse in Canada. This may be attributed to less
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