Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 November 2020
For thousands of years, bears have been kept in captivity to generate income for people. To this day, throughout Asia, three main types of commercial use persist: bear baiting, bear dancing, and bear bile farming. Through these uses tens of thousands of bears are being subjected to conditions that are highly detrimental to their welfare through physiological and psychological impairment during capture, transport, training, and captive conditions. All bear species endemic to Asia, as well as most brown bear populations in Asia, are recognized as threatened with extinction and listed under CITES Appendix I, making any international commercial trade in live animals or their parts illegal. Unfortunately, some countries maintain national legislation that allows for commercial trade or use of bears within that country. Furthermore, illegal international trade is continuing to pose challenges to law enforcement and the conservation and protection of bears worldwide. In this chapter we draw attention to the historic backgrounds, current situation, and holistic approaches that are needed to address these complex issues that are impeding bear welfare and conservation in Asia.