Jun 6, 2019
Asiatic and Sun bear products are traded and consumed illegally throughout SE Asia. The rampant use of bear parts like bile as part of traditional medicine has severely impacted bear populations. While bear farms have been prohibited by some countries, it remains legal to possess bears and thus, the farming for bile largely continues. San Diego Zoo Global's Institute for Conservation Research scientist, Dr. Elizabeth Davis uses social science methods to uncover the motivation behind bear product use and is using that information to develop strategies designed to conserve bear populations by changing consumer behavior. She and her colleagues are developing small scale behavioral change campaigns in hopes of measuring their effectiveness in reducing consumption of bear products in favor of sustainable traditional plant and/or western pharmaceuticals. Reducing demand for bear products is critical to saving wild populations and for improving the welfare for rescued bears, since law enforcement approaches and regulations to ban poaching and farming of bears has not proved successful to date.
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