Q:

What is a bear's gall bladder used for?

A:

According to the Los Angeles Times, some traditional Asian medicines use bear gallbladders. Fever, liver disease, convulsions, diabetes and heart disease are some of the conditions treated with these medications. While there is scientific evidence that supports the value of gallbladders for remedies, similarly effective synthetic substances are available.

Brown bears, Asiatic black bears, giant pandas, sloth bears and Asian sun bears have all been targeted by poachers seeking to sell gallbladders for medical purposes. A single gallbladder is worth as much as $3,000 in Asia. There is also evidence that the practice is extending into the United States. In 2010, a young bear discovered in Virginia's Prince William Forest Park had been operated on, and his gallbladder was missing.

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