Organized crime syndicates are hunting and killing endangered species for usage in, among other things, anti-scientific folk medicine, even when science-based medicine is available. One such example is the Sumatran rhino, which is one of the rarest mammals in the world. One of its horns can bring up to 30000 USD on the black market per kilogram.
The scientist Elizabeth L. Bennett, Director of the Hunting and Wildlife Trade Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society recently published an article entitled Another inconvenient truth: the failure of enforcement systems to save charismatic species in the journal Oryx. It is a sobering read, for several reasons: (1) it shows the danger of some forms of complementary and alternative “medicine” (CAM) for conservation, (2) the costs far outweigh the benefits in this situation as most complementary and alternative medicines do not work compared with placebo, (3) it is ironic that the “western”, science-based medicine is being demonized when some CAMs have abhorrent consequences.
Here are some scary statistics from the article:
- 230 rhinos where poached in South Africa between January and October 2010. That’s one every 30 hour.
- The antelope Saiga tatarica has lost over 95% of the entire population 1990-2005.
- There are only an estimated 1000 breeding females of the tiger Panthera tigris in the wild.
- Over 360 tonnes of ivory has been seized in the world between 1989 and 2009.
Feel the pressure of these facts detonating in your brain.