This could be the main reason for the slaughter and incarceration of hundreds of thousands of bears every year. Money makes the world go round. [Ah! but it floats on bearings!]
When the customers of Bear and endangered species products consume and purchase them, there is a sense of bread winning pride. This is known in many circles as snobbery. They are affluent enough to afford them no matter what the price is, so they pay it.. This makes the vendor fetch the highest price, especially if it is illegally obtained from a wild Bear.
Served up paws can fetch over US$1,000. Ounce for ounce gall is worth more than cocaine.
Just to outline the values of gall stock:-
Wild Bear gall intact, when fresh, illegal and the cull video documented, is most expensive because it was recently running free and specimen was untapped. [And provable]
Farmed gall intact is illegal and less valued because it has been "tarnished".
Dried gall is still valuable, although it's content's substitution is possible and less preferred.
UDCA powders that are made from wild Bear gall, are the most expensive powders.
Powders from farmed Bears are less prized because it gets little space to exercise its "gall power" that the bile seeker is obviously lacking. [The poor dears]
Last are the tonics, soaps, wines and the plethora of products, which have been created to utilize the volume of gall juice that has been collected. Some lines are as cheap as chips. Long-term profit through pandering to the whims of the Chinese customers is what the Airlines have in mind when GIVING away these over produced products on internal flights.The racketeers profit - from the hunter, to the wholesaler, to the TCM shop. This cycle of profit continues to swirl as the reserve of Bears to capture, kill or torture declines. The illegal trade in California alone is estimated at $100 million a year.
Much of this goes to Asia, which has exhausted and understated their numbers of wild Bears for a decade or more. Some areas in the Americas have twice as many bears poached as is "officially" allowed to. 120,000, plus a whole lot more are ending up on the counter's of the Traditional Chinese Medicine shops in Canada, America and Asia.
The poached Bears have often only the gall and front paws removed. It is too bulky to carry the rest.
During a 1983 auction in South Korea, the bidding for an especially prized Black Bear specimen grew incredibly intense, finally stopping at $55,000. The winning bidder didn't get a trophy for his wall, but only its gall bladder This industry, alongside others which capture, kill or torture other endangered species for food, account for one of the largest black markets in the world. Can you imagine how many Bears make up 4000 kilograms [4 tonnes] of BEAR PAWS? Can you imagine the Bear's horror, when betrayed by forest officials to supply this payload?
China is growing too fast for this to result in less than an ursine disaster, unless they snap out of it and remember the "TAO" that was popular once over there....Profit is lucrative for the unscrupulous poacher... it only takes an early morning, a dozen bullets, an axe [if you are going to even worry about the bulky paws], a bit of Dutch courage and a vest to hold galls and you have thousands of dollars cash for your trouble!
If you have a radar, and a hound you don't even have to look up from the screen. You can even make it easier by tracking bears that have been tagged and micro-chipped by officials.
Travel agents in Taiwan who don't offer wildlife eating tours to customers, are considered not to have fulfilled the industry requirements and will not last long...you see, everybody is making such a packet from all this that the wheels of industry have truly crushed the natural UDCA producers, the Bears themselves.
What can you do to save the Bears?
Never buy products that use Bears to make them.
Start a company that makes profit out of saving this species and then filter it back to them.
Begin to manufacture substitutes, if you have the technology to do so.
Turn up at pharmacies and unsurrupticiously enquire about availability. Report any quotes or responses to the uncorrupted authorities.
Document any discoveries with camera, video or recorder. Report this also to the uncorrupted authorities.
Donate your hard or easily earned money directly, by providing sanctuary and enrichment for the Bears rescued from this horror.