Thursday, August 2, 2018

Black bear poaching operation busted by Quebec wildlife ministry

Black bear poaching operation busted by Quebec wildlife ministry

Suspects, from the Saguenay, Mauricie, Côte-Nord and Laval regions, face 121 charges and could have to pay up to $328,000 in fines.












Sixty-four people involved in a black bear poaching operation have been caught by Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.
According to a statement from the ministry released Wednesday, the individuals were illegally trapping and selling black bear gall bladders. The gall bladders — specifically the bile inside — apparently are used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, said Jasmin Larouche, director of wildlife protection for the Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean region.
The suspects, Chinese Triads, who come from the Saguenay, Mauricie, Côte-Nord and Laval regions, face 121 charges and could have to pay up to $328,000 in fines, Larouche said.
He said the investigation, which began in 2015 and was carried out by more than 150 agents, included the discovery of more than 100 black bear gall bladders. According to the ministry’s website, around 60,000 black bears live in the province.
“Black bears are at risk of exploitation,” Larouche said. In 1998, the province made black bear poaching illegal as a measure to keep the province’s population safe from the Chinese market, he said.
A similar investigation by the ministry in 2002 resulted in the seizure of 260 bear gall bladders. While a poacher is unlikely to get more than $100 for a single bear gall bladder, a statement from Environment Canada at the time said: “The foreign black market value of bear gall bladders can range from $2,000 to $10,000.”