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Posts Tagged "traditional medicine"

Extinction Countdown

Rare Iguana is Endangered Because People Like to Eat Egg-Carrying Females

Valle de Aguán spiny-tailed iguana

It’s a simple equation, really: If a species can’t reproduce, it will go extinct. A critically endangered species in Honduras faces that risk in a notable way. It turns out that the people who coexist with Valle de Aguán spiny-tailed iguanas (Ctenosaura melanosterna) not only like to eat the lizards they prefer the taste of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Good News for One of the World’s Rarest Monkeys

tonkin snub-nosed monkeys

You know that a species is in rough shape when a population increase of just 20 animals is cause for celebration. But that’s the case in northern Vietnam this month, where one of the few remaining groups of critically endangered Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus avunculus) has grown from just 90 individuals in 2006 to between [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Pangolins in Peril: All 8 Species of Scaly Anteaters Endangered by Illegal Trade

pangolin

Dan Challender remembers the first time he saw someone eat a pangolin. As part of his research into the consumer demand and illegal trade of the small mammals—often referred to as scaly anteaters—he found himself in a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012. To help his research Challender made friends with the restaurant [...]

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Extinction Countdown

5 Turtles from Nearly Extinct Species Fly Home to Hong Kong

golden coin turtles

Asia’s turtles and tortoises are in an extinction crisis. Few species embody that more than the critically endangered golden coin turtle (Cuora trifasciata), which is so valued in the illegal pet trade and for its use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that a single specimen can fetch $25,000 or more on the black market. The [...]

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Extinction Countdown

What Happens When Forest Elephants Are Wiped Out in an Ecosystem?

forest elephant family

As go the elephants, so go the trees. That’s the message of a new study published in the May 2013 issue of Forest Ecology and Management that found more than a dozen elephant-dependent tree species suffered catastrophic population declines in new plant growths after forest elephants were nearly extirpated from their ecosystems. The fruit-bearing trees [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rhino Poaching: An Extinction Crisis

white rhinoceros

In 2010 a black rhinoceros female named Phila survived two separate and brutal attempts on her life. In the first, poachers used a helicopter to attack the private game reserve where she lived in South Africa. Another rhino died in the assault. Phila escaped with two gunshot wounds. She was lucky, but her ordeal was [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Bear Bile Industry Reportedly Shrinking in South Korea, but China Market Stays Strong

Is the often-illegal market for bear gall bladders and bile for use in traditional Asian medicine starting to shrink? Yes and no and maybe. At least 1,000 Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) live in tiny, cramped cages in South Korea, where they are farmed for their gall bladders, which can sell [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Yarsagumba: Aphrodisiac Fungus Faces Extinction in Nepal

Climate change and overharvesting have put a Himalayan fungus valued for its purported aphrodisiac qualities at risk of extinction. Known variously as yarsagumba, yarchagumba, yartsa gunba, yatsa gunbu and, more colloquially, “Himalayan Viagra,” the parasitic caterpillar fungus Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) grows on and kills Tibetan ghost moths during their larval phase underground. A tiny mushroom [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Meet the Pangolin, Another Animal Threatened by Traditional Asian Medicine

pangolin

In May 2011 Indonesian customs officials inspecting a shipment of fish and turtle meat bound for Vietnam came across a gruesome discovery: 5.9 metric tons of pangolin meat and another 790 kilograms of pangolin scales hidden within the cargo. It was just one of the nearly four dozen illegal pangolin shipments seized in Indonesia, Vietnam, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Manta Rays Endangered by Sudden Demand from Chinese Medicine

Manta ray fishery

Demand for the gills of manta and mobula rays has risen dramatically in the past 10 years for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), even though they were not historically used for this purpose, a team of researchers from the conservation organizations Shark Savers and WildAid has discovered. “We first came across manta and mobula [...]

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