China Officials Find 213 Illegal Bear PawsInternational News, Bear Hunting Magazine
Customs officials at Manzhouli, in the Inner Mongolia Region, discovered 213 bear paws hidden in a vehicle by two Russian nationals. This was the biggest seizure of smuggled bear paws ever made by Chinese customs.
The suspects have been detained by customs police, pending further investigation. They hope to find the destination of the paws and where they originated from.
Police stated that the smugglers looked intense and suspicious during the regular border-crossing check when entering the Chinese border on May 22, At this time, officials decided to send the vehicle for scanning. Customs found the paws stuffed inside the van's wheels and spare tire.
The initial investigation found the paws may come from the brown bear, which is a nationally protected animal in China. A kilogram of bear paw in Russia is worth 2,000 rubles ($63 U.S.), while in China, the price can be up to 10X more. Sales of all bear parts are banned, according to China's laws.
The customs police said that huge profit and the increasing demand in China triggers the smuggling of claws. The demand has only increased in recent years as more people can afford them and there is a tradition to treat bear paw as a rare ingredient for cuisine or as an expensive present.