The Kingpin by Bryan Christy, National Geographic, Jan. 2010
If you haven't seen this article yet I suggest you go out and buy a copy of National Geographic now. Bryan Christy has made a special case of investigating the activities of Anson Wong... possibly one of the largest illegal wildlife traders in the world today.
Christy believes rare animal trading is more profitable than the drug trade. Rare animals - and tigers are just one, high profile example - are being captured in the wild and sold into captivity every day of the week. Otherwise they are being killed and their remains exploited: for their skins, for their bones, as in Chinese medicine, or simply as trophies.
The particularly repulsive photograph by Mark Leong I've reproduced here is of a bear, still alive, having its bile removed.
Bear bile is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and must be extracted from a live animal. So the bears are held captive, in terrible conditions, and 'milked' in this horrendous, invasive manner.
Yes, laws exist against this. However, the enforcement of these laws is patchy at best. Wong has reportedly been able to subvert them by widescale bribery coupled with apathy in his home country. Ominously, the next business he is said to be interested in is tiger farming...