Chinese Pangolins: Causes And Effects Of Chinese Medicine

1361 Words 6 Pages
Chinese Medicine has both a long and rich history going as far back as 1600 B.C., where Chinese caldrons were used to make “pills” and other herbal medicines. Generally speaking, this is where the root of Chinese culture influenced an epidemic of rare animals becoming nearly extinct (Shen-Nong). For this reason, it is crucial to pave way to more laws in regard to wealthy Chinese people who are increasingly causing an environmental disaster to millions of rare and endangered animals due to poaching for traditional Chinese medicine. Traditionally, the Chinese utilized rare animals as an important part of their culture. They did so through the use of medicine and witchcraft where animals increasingly became more sparse as time progressed, leading …show more content…
The Chinese pangolin, a member of Asian and African toothless mammals having the body covered dorsally with large imbricated horny scales —called also scaly anteater — (Merriam Webster), as of 2013, has been classified as “Critically Endangered,” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) with supporting evidence suggesting that Chinese pangolins have been heavily exploited for international trade over the last twenty-one years. The main cause for extinction of pangolins is rooted in the Chinese culture. Chinese medicine, historically, is thought to be the ultimate “fix” to all physical and spiritual ailments, though there is little supporting scientific evidence in favor of Chinese medicine being effective. Bird’s nest soup, for example, exhibits many products that are tonics and supplements rather than remedies, but because they are a prized feature of traditional Chinese medicine, there is a cultural barrier preventing this from discontinuation. Though, the article then goes on to express how with proper educational campaigns aimed at the public, it is very plausible to cut the high demands for products that threatened many endangered species such as the sun bear, a small forest-dwelling bear of southeastern Asia that has short glossy black fur with a lighter muzzle and often an orange or white breast mark (Merriam Webster), often killed for its …show more content…
Endangered species such as sharks, often harvested for their fins, are known as a keystone species, a species of plant or animal that produces a major impact (as by predation) on its ecosystem and is considered essential to maintaining optimum ecosystem function or structure (Merriam Webster). Keystone species, such as sharks, can preclude a struggling ecosystem from collapsing, but can also directly affect an ecosystem primarily through its absence. A study in the U.S. suggests that “the elimination of sharks resulted in the destruction of the shellfish industry in waters off the mid-Atlantic states of the United States, due to the unchecked population growth of cow-nose rays, whose mainstay is scallops. Other studies in Belize have shown reef systems falling into extreme decline when the sharks have been overfished, destroying an entire ecosystem. The downstream effects are frightening: the spike in grouper population (thanks to the elimination of sharks) resulted in a decimation of the parrotfish population, who could no longer perform their important role: keeping the coral algae-free” (Sea Shepard). This demonstrates how not only do many keystone species that happen to be endangered affect their ecosystem but also the jobs of those in a relate

Related Documents