Bear Bile Horror

A dying bear that had its bile extracted for more than ten years in a small cage was finally rescued in 2004 in Tianjin. (File photo/CFP)

A bear which has its bile extracted for a period of 10 years could provide a profit of 30,000 yuan (US$4,765) for its owner, according to local media in China.Analysts say even small companies producing bear bile are making 300% returns each year, let alone larger, more commercial companies such as Guizhentang, the country’s biggest bear bile producer, which has recently attracted criticism for its plans to launch an IPO.

Bear bile is valued for its use in traditional Chinese medicine. According to figures, there are more than 10,000 bears in legal bear farms in China, but there may be many more which are kept by private operators.

In northeast China, a small private operator usually keeps two to three bears while bigger farms may have a few dozen.

A bear cub costs 20,000 yuan (US$3,175) to buy and can have its bile extracted from the age of three. The extraction process can be carried out for about 10 years until the bear dies. Asian black bears can live for up to 30 years in the wild, but bears in farms tend to live only 13 to 15 years.

bear bile products

An adult bear can provide about 10kg of bile powder every year, of which each kilo is worth 4,000 yuan, thus having an “output value” of 40,000 yuan (US$6,350) a year for its owner.

On the input cost side, a bear might cost 7,000 yuan (US$1,110) a year to feed and 3,000 yuan (US$475) per year for the equipment to extract its bile, which means that owners could make 30,000 yuan a year for a net profit of 300%.

Some argue that the cost of buying cubs is not counted in the cost. However, when the bear dies, its paws and meat can be sold to recoup the initial investment.

Since bear farms are so lucrative, it is no surprise that many farmers, including Guizhentang, which can make an even larger profit from keeping several hundred bears, have refused to give up this business.

References:Guizhentang 歸真堂

Sourced from: wantchinatimes.com

What did we do wrong to deserve this?

This photo was taken in a holding pen for baby macaques at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center.  We can easily see that they are lovingly comforting one another, but for the whole group to be doing this is a strong indication that they are all under severe emotional stress.

Rita the baboon lady

Many South Africans are concerned about wildlife protection, with some even starting sanctuaries to care for injured and orphaned animals. Learn more about these sanctuaries and how you can visit or become involved.

It is said that 70-something Rita Miljo has always liked animals more than human beings. Over the past 2 decades she has dedicated her life to the rehabilitation of animals, in particular the baboon population of South Africa. So it’s no wonder then that she’s known as the ‘baboon lady of Palaborwa’.   Rita Miljo’s Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (CARE) was established in 1987 and is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. It was also the first rehabilitation centre in Limpopo Province.

Please visit www.primatecare.org.za

Some sad stories do have happy endings

Meet Carlos, a 24 year old blue fronted amazon and one of Birds of Eden’s little treasures, he arrived at the sanctuary in 2005 and you will usually find him happily chattering away near the old kiosk. Carlos’ life has not always been happy though, in fact he has suffered a dreadful ordeal that unfortunately has happened to so many parrots and continues to happen today. Along with 149 of his flock, Carlos was cruelly taken from the wild, stuffed into a tiny box and smuggled into South Africa under the seat of a truck. So awful were the conditions that Carlos was the only survivor of the journey. He ended up in a pet store and passed through a variety of hands before finally being handed in to Birds of Eden. Wild caught birds rarely make good pets; they have suffered a great deal of trauma and are mistreated by their captors resulting in a fear of humans. His owners nevertheless did the best they could, giving him love and affection but an incorrect diet left him with a chronic vitamin A deficiency causing him to suffer with sinusitis which in turn affects his left eye quite badly. To relieve his stuffed sinuses, Carlos spends every night in our hospital with a humidifier. Each morning he is transported back to the park to play amongst the trees and chatter to passers-by. No matter the weather or the mood of Birds of Eden staff when they arrive at work, Carlos is guaranteed to put a smile on their faces. Wishing a ‘Happy Birthday’ every single day they are also treated to either a rendition of ‘Shosholoza’, a traditional African folk song or Carlos’ own version of singing ‘scales’ which he does beautifully. He also likes to say ‘I love you’ and ‘koppie krap’ which translates to ‘head scratch’ in English. When visiting the sanctuary and you meet Carlos, please don’t try to touch him or indeed accept his invitation for a ‘koppie krap’, he is still very nervous of humans and cute as he seems, he is likely to give you a nasty nip!