Book of the Week: ‘Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine’

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This week’s book is “Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine” by Richard Ellis.

Book Summary: Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn examines the atrocities inflicted upon wildlife populations to satisfy demands for “traditional Chinese medicine” (TCM). Factual evidence gleaned from TRAFFIC surveys and reports, grim personal accounts, and numerous historical references paint a horrifying picture of what is to come if endangered species continue to be plundered in the name of medieval Chinese “remedies”.

Why this book is important: Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine is a sobering examination of where Chinese superstitions and myths about supposed “powers” of animal consumption are taking our natural world. The most frightening implication of this book is that it contains decades (decades!) of warning signs pointing to the impending extinction of species prized in traditional Chinese medicine. It is shocking to consider that this book is now five years old – and the destruction of wildlife for medieval Chinese “tonics” continues unabated.

Quotable moment:

The Sumatran rhino is so close to extinction that the removal of a single animal brings them that much closer to the edge. They were brought to this precipice by poachers who hunted them for their horns and by loggers who destroyed their habitat. An October 2003 report that Myanmar’s hardwood forests are being liquidated by Chinese timber companies from neighboring Yunnan Province does not bode well for the remaining rhinos there.

Will the Sumatran rhino become the first animal to disappear completely because of traditional Chinese medicne?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species notes that Sumatran rhinos are now “possibly extinct” in Myanmar.

Where to purchase ‘Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine’

You can purchase Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine online at Amazon.com.

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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