New device in war on bear bile trade

Indira Das-Gupta

The World Society for the Protection of Animals is developing a breakthrough detection device to help customs officials clamp down on the growing illegal trade in bear parts such as gall bladders and bear bile.

Kate Sanders, a consultant to the WSPA, came up with the idea for the hand-held kit, which was presented to delegates at a meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species. Several countries have shown an interest in running trials.

WSPA campaigns officer David Eastham said: "The new kit will be a powerful weapon in the fight against the trade in bear products."

Bear parts are used as ingredients in products such as Chinese medicines.

Until now, the only way to test a product for bear contents has been to send it to a lab, which is costly and time-consuming.

Bear farming is practised in parts of south-east Asia, while in China more than 9,000 bears are kept in cramped conditions, where they are subjected to an agonising daily bile extraction.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus