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In parts of Korea and China, moon bears, black but for the crescent-shaped patch of white on their chests, are captured in the wild and brought to "bear farms" where they are imprisoned in squeeze cages, and a steel catheter is inserted into their gall bladders. The dripping bile is collected as a cure for ailments ranging from an upset stomach to skin burns. The bear may In parts of Korea and China, moon bears, black but for the crescent-shaped patch of white on their chests, are captured in the wild and brought to "bear farms" where they are imprisoned in squeeze cages, and a steel catheter is inserted into their gall bladders. The dripping bile is collected as a cure for ailments ranging from an upset stomach to skin burns. The bear may live as long as fifteen years in this state. Rhinos are being illegally poached for their horns, as are tigers for their bones, thought to improve virility. Booming economies and growing wealth in parts of Asia are increasing demand for these precious medicinals. Already endangered species are being sacrificed for temporary treatments for nausea and erectile dysfunction. Richard Ellis, one of the world's foremost experts in wildlife extinction, brings his alarm to the pages of Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn, in the hope that through an exposure of this drug trade, something can be done to save the animals most direly threatened. Trade in animal parts for traditional Chinese medicine is a leading cause of species endangerment in Asia, and poaching is increasing at an alarming rate. Most of traditional Chinese medicine relies on herbs and other plants, and is not a cause for concern. Ellis illuminates those aspects of traditional medicine, but as wildlife habitats are shrinking for the hunted large species, the situation is becoming ever more critical. One hundred years ago, there were probably 100,000 tigers in India, South China, Sumatra, Bali, Java, and the Russian Far East. The South Chinese, Caspian, Balinese, and Javan species are extinct. There are now fewer than 5,000 tigers in all of India, and the numbers are dropping fast. There are five species of rhinoceros--three in Asia and two in Africa--and all have been hunted to near extinction so their horns can be ground into powder, not for aphrodisiacs, as commonly thought, but for ailments ranging from arthritis to depression. In 1930, there were 80,000 black rhinos in Africa. Now there are fewer than 2,500. Tigers, bears, and rhinos are not the only animals pursued for the sake of alleviating human ills--the list includes musk deer, sharks, saiga antelope, seahorses, porcupines, monkeys, beavers, and sea lions--but the dwindling numbers of those rare species call us to attention. Ellis tells us what has been done successfully, and contemplates what can and must be done to save these animals or, sadly, our children will witness the extinction of tigers, rhinos, and moon bears in their lifetime.


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In parts of Korea and China, moon bears, black but for the crescent-shaped patch of white on their chests, are captured in the wild and brought to "bear farms" where they are imprisoned in squeeze cages, and a steel catheter is inserted into their gall bladders. The dripping bile is collected as a cure for ailments ranging from an upset stomach to skin burns. The bear may In parts of Korea and China, moon bears, black but for the crescent-shaped patch of white on their chests, are captured in the wild and brought to "bear farms" where they are imprisoned in squeeze cages, and a steel catheter is inserted into their gall bladders. The dripping bile is collected as a cure for ailments ranging from an upset stomach to skin burns. The bear may live as long as fifteen years in this state. Rhinos are being illegally poached for their horns, as are tigers for their bones, thought to improve virility. Booming economies and growing wealth in parts of Asia are increasing demand for these precious medicinals. Already endangered species are being sacrificed for temporary treatments for nausea and erectile dysfunction. Richard Ellis, one of the world's foremost experts in wildlife extinction, brings his alarm to the pages of Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn, in the hope that through an exposure of this drug trade, something can be done to save the animals most direly threatened. Trade in animal parts for traditional Chinese medicine is a leading cause of species endangerment in Asia, and poaching is increasing at an alarming rate. Most of traditional Chinese medicine relies on herbs and other plants, and is not a cause for concern. Ellis illuminates those aspects of traditional medicine, but as wildlife habitats are shrinking for the hunted large species, the situation is becoming ever more critical. One hundred years ago, there were probably 100,000 tigers in India, South China, Sumatra, Bali, Java, and the Russian Far East. The South Chinese, Caspian, Balinese, and Javan species are extinct. There are now fewer than 5,000 tigers in all of India, and the numbers are dropping fast. There are five species of rhinoceros--three in Asia and two in Africa--and all have been hunted to near extinction so their horns can be ground into powder, not for aphrodisiacs, as commonly thought, but for ailments ranging from arthritis to depression. In 1930, there were 80,000 black rhinos in Africa. Now there are fewer than 2,500. Tigers, bears, and rhinos are not the only animals pursued for the sake of alleviating human ills--the list includes musk deer, sharks, saiga antelope, seahorses, porcupines, monkeys, beavers, and sea lions--but the dwindling numbers of those rare species call us to attention. Ellis tells us what has been done successfully, and contemplates what can and must be done to save these animals or, sadly, our children will witness the extinction of tigers, rhinos, and moon bears in their lifetime.

30 review for Tiger Bone Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Wildlife conservation and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are both academic and professional interests of mine, so I was very excited to read this book; however, I thought it was quite poorly written. The author does not seem to have any background or prior knowledge of in TCM. To be fair, the author acknowledges in the foreword that he mainly quotes from others. In some chapters this gets so bad that the book reads like a poorly written undergraduate paper. The ideas aren't connected (they're Wildlife conservation and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are both academic and professional interests of mine, so I was very excited to read this book; however, I thought it was quite poorly written. The author does not seem to have any background or prior knowledge of in TCM. To be fair, the author acknowledges in the foreword that he mainly quotes from others. In some chapters this gets so bad that the book reads like a poorly written undergraduate paper. The ideas aren't connected (they're poorly organized) and the examples seem to almost repeat themselves. He quotes from other sources incessantly but doesn't really weave those quotes into anything cohesive. In one egregious example, he quotes a textbook on some fundamentals of TCM and then proceeds to misinterpret what was just quoted. Although he does make an effort to appear objective and scientific, the author is nevertheless biased against TCM and dismissive of its importance in healthcare. Another thing that made this book difficult to read was the highly variable length of each chapter. Two of the later chapters span over fifty pages each, while the earlier chapters are more like 20-35 pages. While this doesn't necessarily detract from the content of the book, it's just annoying. One chapter was so long it feels almost like he should have written a separate book on the history of rhino horns and unicorns. (It was a fascinating chapter but way too long). What I did find useful in this book was the information on bear bile extraction and different efforts organizations are making to reduce the demand for endangered species parts. This book is valuable as a reference or bibliography of OTHER literature on the topic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a pretty decent book. It's very informative. I learned a lot I didn't know about the wildlife trade. It just seems like this book could have been edited a lot better. Some chapters are pretty gripping; others feel overly long and detailed. I particularly struggled through the rhino horn chapter. Ellis sometimes delves too deeply into the historical significance of animal symbols and he gets a bit too tangential in certain parts. The other way it could be improved is to add some more emot This is a pretty decent book. It's very informative. I learned a lot I didn't know about the wildlife trade. It just seems like this book could have been edited a lot better. Some chapters are pretty gripping; others feel overly long and detailed. I particularly struggled through the rhino horn chapter. Ellis sometimes delves too deeply into the historical significance of animal symbols and he gets a bit too tangential in certain parts. The other way it could be improved is to add some more emotional punch to some chapters. Ellis is a journalist and he tries to mostly remain objective throughout, refusing to outwardly condemn Traditional Chinese Medicine and much of its ludicrous claims. Toward the end of the book, Ellis finally reveals his views on preserving endangered species. It's clear he is more toward the conservationist standpoint (similar to E.O. Wilson) rather than the welfarist standpoint (though he does have some sympathies at least toward the bears used for TCM). Despite the fact he's done an awful lot of research and cares deeply for the subject, his writing is mostly detached through much of the book. I believe that had he decided to inject his opinions more vocally, the book would have been a lot more enjoyable. I think the book is still worth reading despite being some slow chapters. You will learn a lot about wildlife trafficking, some of the proposed solutions to helping animals, and at the very least see the dire straits of the animals drawn to the brink of extinction.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book details not only the ways tiger bone, rhino horn, bear bile and other animal products are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but also goes into the history of TCM and the possible reasons why the animals were first used for medicine. (The rhino horn and unicorn horn connection was particularly interesting.) It is a very informative and well researched book, but I found a lot of it to be repetitive and lacking proper structure. I do recommend that anyone interested in endangere This book details not only the ways tiger bone, rhino horn, bear bile and other animal products are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but also goes into the history of TCM and the possible reasons why the animals were first used for medicine. (The rhino horn and unicorn horn connection was particularly interesting.) It is a very informative and well researched book, but I found a lot of it to be repetitive and lacking proper structure. I do recommend that anyone interested in endangered species, especially rhinos, tigers, and bears, should read the book. Just be prepared to be slammed with a lot of facts and statistics, many of which you may have read elsewhere.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roger

    This book, although a little light, is a must-read for anyone who has an enthusiasm for Chinese medicine. Ellis documents the ruthless scything through animal populations that said medicine demands, and describes the numerous misguided attempts to try and assuage the demand for animal "herbs" by substituting other animal products. For example, an attempt to stem the demand for rhino horn by encouraging the use of Saiga horn, which led to a sudden Saiga population collapse. Thanks, WWF! Chinese m This book, although a little light, is a must-read for anyone who has an enthusiasm for Chinese medicine. Ellis documents the ruthless scything through animal populations that said medicine demands, and describes the numerous misguided attempts to try and assuage the demand for animal "herbs" by substituting other animal products. For example, an attempt to stem the demand for rhino horn by encouraging the use of Saiga horn, which led to a sudden Saiga population collapse. Thanks, WWF! Chinese medicine is the principal reason we will soon have no further tigers or rhinos.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I picked up this book at the library. I was researching TCM and its impact on tiger populations for a presentation. This book was interesting but I found that it bogged down when discussing all the non-governmental organizations and their roles in protecting the tiger. Ellis is a journalist, not a biologist, and therfore has a somewhat unique take on the subject. However, I must admit that I basically skimmed the last quarter or so of the book. The discussion of the NGOs just did not interest me I picked up this book at the library. I was researching TCM and its impact on tiger populations for a presentation. This book was interesting but I found that it bogged down when discussing all the non-governmental organizations and their roles in protecting the tiger. Ellis is a journalist, not a biologist, and therfore has a somewhat unique take on the subject. However, I must admit that I basically skimmed the last quarter or so of the book. The discussion of the NGOs just did not interest me at all. I would have enjoyed a closer look at TCM itself without all the NGO stuff.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Author's heart in the right place, but agree with other reviews that needed improved editing. Valueable information. Heart rending that population decimation occurring on our watch? Sending donations now! Author's heart in the right place, but agree with other reviews that needed improved editing. Valueable information. Heart rending that population decimation occurring on our watch? Sending donations now!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ron Walker

  8. 5 out of 5

    James Funston

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kellsi

  10. 5 out of 5

    Neahga Leonard

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Very informative with well researched.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julian Rademeyer

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Blair

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack Nebel Jr

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex Dove

  16. 4 out of 5

    PMP

  17. 5 out of 5

    Abhinav Parameshwar

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kayleigh

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ross Hoffman

  26. 5 out of 5

    Holly Stockton

  27. 5 out of 5

    Beth Esposito

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hamilton

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan Drollette

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steve Burns

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