U.S. Bear Parts For Sale

The flies are thick and buzzing.
The buzzards circle slowly overhead.
Another black bear lies mutilated and dead,
having fallen victim to the business of poaching.

In Korea bowls of bear paw soup are a delight.
A powder made of ground-up bear gall bladder --
worth more per ounce than cocaine – spells sadder
times ahead. Worldwide, bears are losing the fight.

Gall powder -- prized for medicinal powers in Asia –
brings $10,000 per bear. Does no one here even care
that, having exterminated all the bears over there,
South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Malaysia

are paying for the extermination of all our black bears?
In the U.S., poachers yearly kill 40,000 bears – in the
swamps of Florida, in the bayous of Louisiana, in the
Shenandoah National Park – making ours into theirs.

America’s Smokey the Bear, America’s Teddy Bear will
be gone…exterminated. To you, does it simply not matter
that we get the carcass because they want the gall bladder?
Keep silent...do nothing…soon we’ll have no bears to kill.

Harry Edward Gilleland      10.27.04