Some stories just make you sick. A young black bear was found on a California highway with its paws and gallbladder removed.
The 150-pound yearling was only two years old and had injuries consistent with being hit by a car, however, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said that someone had then removed the bear’s gallbladder and cut off its paws, according to The Guardian.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Bear gallbladder and paws are considered medicinal, aphrodisiacs, or delicacies in some cultures. Asian communities consider the gallbladder of a bear to have medical powers, while bear paws are often cooked and eaten, said the department’s spokesman, Andrew Hughan.
Hughan described the scene as ‘pretty disheartening.’
The bear was likely struck Wednesday or Thursday and removed by the wildlife warden from Highway 14 at Sand Canyon Road in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita.
But Hughan is convinced this was a ‘crime of opportunity’ and not the work of someone who killed the bear on the spot, though it is suspected that the driver or passenger of the vehicle in question is the culprit.
There were no signs of a gunshot, broken legs or hip,” Hughan told the Los Angeles Times. ‘We are very confident it was hit by a car. This desecration of the body was done afterward.’
He also noted that bear poaching is ‘fairly common’ in the area, with at least 12,000 bears killed last year.
He noted that bear gallbladders can sell for $1,000 on the black market.
n 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle published an expose on the black bear underground market, reporting that bear bile was freely offered in Chinatown shops.
In East Asia, bears are routinely held in captivity in small cages and sold for their parts.