The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports two men have been arrested on charges of illegally buying Michigan black bears and black bear parts.

The charges are the result of an undercover investigation by the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division’s Special Investigations Unit.

A conservation officer received information that one of the subjects was contacting hunters and soliciting the purchase of black bear parts. Investigators established undercover contact with the suspects and a number of transactions were conducted.

“Individuals soliciting for the purchase of black bear parts creates a market for the illegal parts and provides a financial incentive for poachers to take the animals during closed seasons, in excess of established limits, and by unlawful methods,” said Detective Lt. Jason Haines.

There is a black market for black bear parts in Asia, where the parts are used for medicinal purposes.

Each of the seven counts against the men from Midland, Michigan carries a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail plus $1,500 in reimbursement per animal that was illegally bought.

The case is pending arraignment of the defendants in the 75th District Court in Midland County. Names of the defendants are being withheld until the arraignment.

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