Spectacled bears are hunted illegally for medicinal or ritual purposes as their meat, skin, fat, claws, and gallbladder are prized locally and internationally.
Spectacled bears are sometimes hunted illegally for medicinal or ritual purposes.
In some parts of the Andean bear’s range, the meat, skin, fat, and claws are highly prized and in demand locally. In some regions in South America, the bear’s meat is believed to impart strength, it’s fat is used to cure certain illnesses, and its claws are supposed to bring good luck.
The Andean bear’s gallbladder is often sold to the east Asian or international market where it is used for traditional oriental medicinal purposes although there is no proven benefit of these materials for humans and the effect of this illegal hunting on populations can be devastating. Recent estimates put the price at $150.00 USD for one gallbladder, which is five times the average monthly wage in Ecuador.
Sources: (Fenner, 2012; LaFee, 2009; Naranjo & Hernández; Nowak, 1999; R´ıos-Uzeda, Gómez, Wallace, 2006; Servheen, Herrero, & Peyton, 1999; Velez-Liendo & García-Rangel, 2017)
Image: Tambako the Jaguar