Ten Threatened and Endangered Species Used in Traditional Medicine

The demand for alternative remedies has given rise to a poaching industry that, along with other factors, has decimated animal populations

The Chinese alligator now numbers fewer than 200 in the wild, mostly restricted to a small reserve in the Anhui province of China, along the lower Yangtze River. (© CHINA PHOTOS / Reuters / Corbis)

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Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Although Hawksbill sea turtles can be found in environments ranging from the Caribbean Sea to the waters surrounding Indonesia, their numbers have dwindled to the point that they are now listed as critically endangered. Poachers hunt hawksbills for a number of reasons, including for their shells, which have been distributed worldwide as travel souvenirs and incorporated into jewelry and other decorative items and for their oil, whose use in traditional medicine has increased in recent years. Bans on trading turtle products and various sting operations have achieved limited success in stopping the species’ decline.

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