A new TRAFFIC analysis of hundreds of seizures sounds the alarm on Asia’s ongoing widespread bear trade and the need for immediate international action.

Elephants are revered in Thailand and, as an important part of the country’s identity, they are an integral part of Thai beliefs and culture. However, despite this, Thailand has one of the world’s largest unregulated ivory markets and is consistently highlighted as one of the most problematic countries in the illegal ivory trade.

Poaching and illegal trade of bears, driven largely by the demand for bile, used in traditional medicine and folk remedies continues unabated across Asia on a large scale, a report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has found.

This report presents an assessment of the trade in gibbons and orang-utans in Sumatra, Indonesia, including the islands off Sumatra’s west coast (most notably, the Mentawai Islands). Until recently Sumatra and its off-lying islands harboured one of the largest expanses of lowland evergreen rainforest in Southeast Asia.