SINGAPORE - Singapore is a key international trade route for bear bile products and sustains a well-developed domestic market, according to a new report by an international group that monitors illicit wildlife trade.
In its 'Brought To Bear' report released on Thursday, wildlife-trade monitoring group Traffic examined 604 cases of seizures of bears and bear products from 17 Asian countries or territories, between 2000 and 2011.
During that time, Singapore accounted for 3 per cent of seizures of bear products or bear bile products, or 23 seizures, that were officially reported.
The countries most frequently involved were Cambodia, China, Vietnam and Russia. And an analysis of all cases suggested that at least 2,801 individual bears had been traded for their parts and derivatives during that period, the report said.
The Traffic report also highlighted illegal trade routes between Singapore and India and Singapore and Vietnam, for example, and urged governments and enforcement agencies to pay closer attention to such routes.
Bear bile, an ingredient in traditional medicines, is thought to treat a range of ailments such as sprains, epilepsy, fever and liver problems.
But as it is extracted from endangered black bears and sun bears, trade in bear and bile products is prohibited under the international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.