Bear Poaching

Letters to the Editor / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / February 24, 2004

To the Editor:

The poaching of black bears is a problem that has a possible solution. The problem is that people with money value black bear gallbladders and are willing to pay a lot for them. The laws meant to prevent the wanton killing of black bear for the sole purpose of harvesting gallbladders depress the supply of gallbladders. This, of course, increases the value of the gallbladders, increasing the chance that someone will take the risk of poaching black bears.

The solution can be found in the market. Most black bear that are harvested in Alaska are utilized for the meat or the rug or both; the gallbladder is discarded. Although it is probably against international law (another issue) for individual hunters to sell the legally harvested gallbladders, it is possible for the state of Alaska to seek a waiver to that law.

The state could require successful bear hunters to submit the bear's gallbladders to the state. Proceeds could be used to supplement the wildlife management budget. The hunter might be rewarded in some way for his or her additional work involved in properly harvesting the gallbladder.


John A. Bennett / Fairbanks


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