The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Da Lat Sun Bear Claws - Tragedy in the Central Highlands

Spent a lovely few weeks in Da Lat but was thoroughly disturbed by all the sun bear claws for sale in the market. The police walk by them all day long, but they'd rather harass the minority women selling snacks than do anything about the endangered species trade. Pictured are just a few of the many collections for sale.

Incidentally, the big yellow claw in the top photo is supposedly a tiger claw. These are much less common, as you would expect. These claws are relatively expensive--they can be 1,000,000VND or more for a bear claw--several million for a tiger claw. The teeth, which are usually fake, are much cheaper. I believe the claws come from bears milked for their bile. Its likely their claws--and sometimes their toes, are cut off in order to make milking their bile easier.

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