Demand for traditional Chinese medicine in Africa raises fears for endangered species

Amid rising demand for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) products in African countries, fear of poaching of endangered species has been raised. Mai Xiaotian, writing in Radio Free Asia (RFA) said body parts of endangered species are used to make some ingredients.

According to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the increase in exports of Chinese medicine products is part of Xi Jinping’s global “Belt and Road” campaign. “The aggressive expansion of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in many African countries poses a direct threat to the future of some endangered species,” the group said in a statement.

EIA activist Ceres Kam said traditional medicine is an integral part of many cultures and plays an important role in global health care, RFA reported. “Some pharmaceutical companies continue to source ingredients from endangered animals, adding to the pressure on the survival of these species,” Kam said.

“Our very real concern is that such a significant expansion of TCM in Africa, as is happening under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will dramatically increase demand for treatments containing wildlife and, in turn, will lead to the disappearance of more threatened or extinct species,” she said. “Any use of threatened species in TCM could potentially stimulate additional demand, induce the wildlife crime and ultimately lead to overexploitation,” Kam warned.

Hong Kong writer and activist Riki Ueda, who volunteered for wildlife conservation in South Africa, agreed, RFA reported. “The demand for traditional Chinese medicine will increase and the pressure on these animals will definitely increase,” she said, citing a recent increase in ivory poaching following the legalization of the existing ivory trade.

“Does the legal trade contribute to the illegal trade? The two seem to develop in parallel…and the [legal trade] is likely to have a negative impact on the species and on the illegal wildlife trade.” “Since 2008, 5,940 rhinos have been hunted and killed in Africa,” Huang Lin-huang, a doctor from the TCM and former Taiwan Ministry of Health official “Scientists believe this number is an underestimate.”

Huang said he never believed in the effectiveness of rhino horn powder, which was banned in China, before being legalized again in 2018, Mai said. According to the latest statistics from South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, poachers killed 394 rhinos in the whole of 2020. But that number rose to 249 in the past month alone. first half of 2021.

In Botswana, at least 100 rhinos have been killed by poachers in the past three years since President Mokgweetsi Masisi took office in 2018 and disarmed anti-poaching teams, stripping them of their right to kill poachers in Botswana. view, Mia reported. (ANI)

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