Sunday, April 13, 2008


Recently, two disemboweled tiger carcasses were found frozen in a private house south of Hanoi, products resting temporarily along the black market highway to wherever it is someone can sell this sort of thing. What sort of thing? Traditional medicinal bone pastes, the rarer the better. Investigators also found a number of livers and some unidentified skinned feet.1 It seems that very little time elapses between reports from the illegal exotic animal trade. I've noted it here before,2 and the cited article above mentions several recent incidents: the curious incident in Cần Thơ, where a ring of black marketers were arrested for poisoning the local zoo cat and stealing the body back in August oh-seven; and an eye-popping report about two locals discovered riding around in a taxi with the bodies of both a tiger and a bear just last December. I assume that was a moon bear, another name for the Asiatic Black Bear,3 valued around town for the medicinal quality of its bile. I have no link, but I believe I've heard about restaurants which have moon bears chained in their back allies, though I'd also note that one hears all sorts of spurious lore about Asian restaurants. Vietnam, combating illegal animal trade on all fronts, recently unveiled its first bear rescue center,4 located in scenic Tam Đảo, a birdwatcher's haven in northern Vietnam. The center is designed to promote understanding and benevolence toward the creatures, curb the torturous mistreatment associated with the bile industry, and oh yeah, care for rescued specimens, if necessary, for life. According to the article, the center is also dedicated to:
"explain[ing] the background of bear bile use and the availability of synthetic and herbal alternatives to bile.
So there you go. Man-made bear bile. Fill the old cauldron with that. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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