POSTED: 8:07 p.m. HST, Feb 21, 2012
The United States Humane Society says products containing bear gallbladders and bile are sold in Honolulu's Chinatown.
As a result, the animal protection organization is urging state lawmakers to pass legislation banning the import of traditional medicines and cosmetics containing bear gallbladders or bile. Thirty-four other states have enacted bans, according to Inga Gibson, the Hawaii state director for the United States Humane Society of Hawaii.
In other countries, bear populations are at risk because their gallbladders can be sold for $3,000 apiece. Some bears are poached for their organs. Others are caught and caged, with catheters inserted into their gallbladders to drain their bile, Gibson says.
Hawaii may not have bears, but Gibson told lawmakers banning the import of luxury items containing bear bile could protect the animals elsewhere.