Who ordered the bear's paws?

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
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Trip End Dec 31, 2011


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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OK, so who ordered those bear's paws?

It seems there is still a big market for medicines obtained by poaching, despite publicity to prevent this from happening.

Here's the story off the wire:



Authorities in southern China
seized a van they suspected was hauling drugs but found it packed with
what may be a different kind of contraband: bear paws, a python skin
and a pangolin carcass, an official said Tuesday.

The van was stopped by police Sunday in the Guangxi region near the
border with Vietnam, according to Tang Chaoan, head of the propaganda
bureau in the city of Fangchenggang, where the case was being
investigated.

The load included 173 bear paws, one python skin and the carcass of
a pangolin - a type of sticky-tongued, toothless, nocturnal anteater
that is a menu item in southern China.

Bear paws are also considered a delicacy in southern China where
exotic animals are favored by diners despite the impact on populations
of endangered species.


It was not clear if the animal parts were being smuggled.

The area abuts Southeast Asia's notorious "Golden Triangle" drug
producing region and officers suspected the van was transporting
narcotics, Tang said. The van's driver and an assistant denied any
knowledge of the bear paws and other items, he said.


The bear paws - also used in some traditional medicines - weighed 844 pounds (383 kilograms), he said.

The python skin - used in the two-stringed violin-like instrument
called the Chinese Erhu - was over 16.4 feet (five meters) long. It is
illegal to trade unlicensed pythons under Chinese law.

Jill Robinson, founder of Hong Kong-based animal welfare charity
Animals Asia, said the paws likely came from bear farms, and the
seizure highlights the need to take a closer look at the bear farm
industry.

She said bear farms are not regulated enough, and parts are often
smuggled across borders - an illegal practice under Chinese and
international law.

The van had started its journey in the neighboring province of
Yunnan, but it was unclear where the parts were headed, Tang said. He
said investigations were continuing.

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