Bears head CITES agenda

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

China is expected to push to relax global
restrictions on traffic in bear parts at the
November 17-18 meeting of the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species,
to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The World Society for the Protection
of Animals prepared by hosting an internation-
al symposium on the medicinal uses of bear
matter in Seattle on September 10-11. Said
WSPA North American campaigns director
Wim de Kok, “The huge number of bears
being farmed in China,” estimated at more
than 10,000, “is like an alarm signaling the
threat to wild bears around the world,” since
poached bear parts can easily be relabeled to
indicate farm origin. “The continued captivity
of bears on farms only serves to fuel demand
for these products, and forces thousands of
bears to endure miserable lives,” de Kok
added. Many of the bears are connected to
tubes through which bile––believed by many
Asians to have medicinal properties––is
extracted from their stomachs. Other facilities
combine bear parts production with tourism.

According to WSPA, one such site, the
Badaling Bear Park, keeps “more than 400
Asiatic black bears crammed into four pits,
each pit no larger than a tennis court.”
As well as trying to keep CITES
from weakening protections adopted in 1989,
WSPA also seeks “uniform laws in the U.S.
that would prohibit the trade in bear parts,”
according to de Kok, who explained that while
only a few states allow such traffic, their
activity leads to gaps in law enforcement in
other states.
China maintains that bear farming
has stopped bear poaching within Chinese bor-
ders; WSPA says it has not. Sensitive to the
criticism, the Guangxi Zhuang region of
southwest China on August 29 announced that
it would stiffen anti-poaching laws. According
to the Xinhua (China) news service, the region
includes “more than 880 kinds of wild terrestri-
al vertebrates and 163 kinds of other wild ani-
mals, of which 121 kinds have been listed by
the state for top priority protection.” A week
later the Guangxi Zhuang government
destroyed 577 boxes of “medical plasters con-
taining tiger bones” to prove it’s serious.
In other CITES business, World
Wildlife Fund treaties director Gordon
Shepherd charged September 8 that the
European Union “has failed to control the
impact of trade on endangered primates, wild
cats, parrots, alligators, crocodiles, snakes,
and plants. Europeans spend a lot of time and
money on conservation measures in Africa,
Asia, and Latin America,” he added, “but
these efforts are being directly undermined by
lax implementation
of European laws.”
Weaver said the EU leads the world in imports
of wild-caught live parrots, and is second in
purchases of live primates, chameleons, and
exotic cat skins. WWF wants Germany,
which currently holds the EU presidency, to
pass stiffer EU legislation on wildlife traffick-
ing at the October 4 meeting of the EU
Environment Council. WWF also wants the
EU to reduce the number of legal points of
arrival for wildlife imports.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.