PETALING JAYA: Widespread illegal trade in bear bile and gall bladder for traditional medicine across Malaysia is potentially a serious threat to wild bears, says TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network.
Traffic South-East Asia senior communications officer Elizabeth John said a 2015 survey of 365 traditional medicine shops across Malaysia, found 48% claimed to sell bear gall bladders and medicinal products containing bear bile.
“Every state in Malaysia had bear products for sale, especially in peninsular Malaysia, where bear bile pills were the most common item sold,” she said, adding that Kelantan and Johor topped the list.
The study also showed that nearly 60% of 298 bear gall bladders observed for sale were claimed to be from wild sun bears killed locally through either opportunistic or deliberate poaching.
“Whole bear gall bladders were more frequently observed in Sabah and Sarawak, as almost all vendors here claimed that gall bladders for sale were sourced locally, the same for some traders in the peninsular
“Over 80% of shops also claimed to have ongoing supplies of at least some bear products,” she said.