The practice of traditional medicine in China incorporates a wide variety of body parts taken from wild animals, making it one of the largest threats to animals in Asia. For animals like the rhino and elephant the trade has even extended to other continents. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler, 2006.
Targeted species include tiger, rhino, pangolin, bears, saiga, turtles, and elephants, many of which are on the brink of extinction. Other animals are killed for their coats or for decorations. Much of the trade is illegal, yet laws are rarely enforced and the trade has become increasingly sophisticated. Quite simply, regulating the trade and enfocing already established wildlife laws has not yet become a priority for most south east Asian nations. The black market in animals for medicine and food is worth billions annually.
For more information on the global wildlife trade:
Wildlife Trafficking Blog.