Dead Bear Found in VA Park May Have Been Killed for its Bile

Amanda Gaines, WMAL-AM (Washington, D.C.), February 9, 2011

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to a conviction in the death of a bear cub that may have been killed for the bile stored in its gallbladder.

A clean up crew working in Prince William Forest Park found the remains of a black bear cub a trash bag in mid-November but police still do not know who killed it. The bear’s insides were missing, including the gallbladder that can fetch thousands of dollars on the black market in Asia, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society told 630 WMAL News.

“The bile of bears is used in some traditional Asian [cultures] for medicinal purposes, so the bear gallbladders are taken and often sold overseas where they’re literally worth their weight in gold,” Elise Traub, deputy manager of the Humane Society’s Wildlife Abuse Campaign, told WMAL.

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Poaching black bears is a problem across the country because their parts can bring in a good deal of money. As a result, many states have laws against selling their parts, Traub said.

The Wildlife Abuse Campaign runs a nationwide anti-poaching program and offers rewards of $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of poachers.

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