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Quebec authorities bust ring that targeted black bears for their gallbladders

Last Updated Jul 19, 2018 at 9:20 am PDT

SAGUENAY, Que. – Quebec authorities say they have cracked down on a poaching ring that allegedly killed black bears for their gallbladders and shipped the organs primarily to Asia.

Jasmin Larouche, the head of wildlife protection in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, says the ring operated in different parts of the province.

Larouche said he did not know how many gallbladders were seized.

The organ is highly coveted for the bile it contains, with some people believing it is effective in treating various illnesses as well as being an aphrodisiac.

Authorities began their operation in 2015.

The Quebec Forestry Department estimates about 60 people were involved in the ring and that they face a total of 121 charges.