[South Korea] In April 2021, an amendment to the Wildlife Protection and Management Act (hereinafter referred to as the Wildlife Act) passed the plenary session of the National Assembly to strengthen punishment for illegal breeding of international endangered species such as Asiatic black bears. According to the amendment, people who breed international endangered species without permission will be sentenced to up to three years in prison or fined up to 30 million won. The current law imposes up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 10 million won. In the past, criminals were punished only lightly, even though habitual illegal activities that took economic advantage of the international endangered species, Asiatic black bears, continued for years. The amendment now enables tougher punishment for illegal activities.
Strengthening wildlife laws is the first step towards ending the bear industry. In order for this law to work properly, the government must step up. The protection and supervision of endangered species should be further strengthened to ensure that there are no more endangered species born illegally.
Maya Pastakia, Global Campaign Manager – Wildlife, Not Medicine, at World Animal Protection said:
“This introduces stricter penalties for aggravated wildlife offences, including illegally breeding bears for their bile. The Bill sends a clear signal that such offences will not be tolerated and those found guilty will be severely punished. We urge the South Korean government to continue to monitor all captive bears on farms so that new bears are not born into the cruel bear bile industry. We also urge the government to build a high-welfare animal shelter and rescue as many bears from the industry as possible.”
An infectious disease from bats threatened the whole world and our daily lives stopped. It should be noted that the onset of this disease lies in the abuse of wildlife. Efforts to end the cruel and shameful wildlife industry will have to continue.