Pangolin officially out of traditional Chinese medicine

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July 3, 2020, 3: 7
Beijing, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) China made the exclusion of the pangolin from the list of animals used in traditional medicine (TCM) official, after determining to give it maximum protection due to the rapid decline facing its population, local press reported on Tuesday.

According to the Global Times, the final version of the Chinese pharmacopoeia for 2020 eliminated the coveted mammal and therefore the use of its parts in TCM therapies was prohibited.

The document will enter into force on December 30 and is a joint work of the National Administration of Medical Products, the National Health Commission and other related departments of the State.

Experts and citizens advocated that the country take that step to effectively combat smuggling of the pangolin, whose scales are highly valued for their supposed benefits to treat arthritis, stimulate breastfeeding and increase male virility.

On June 5, the government announced that it will incorporate this species among the first-level protected animals, such as the panda, to curb indiscriminate hunting and habitat destruction.

According to the country’s law, this classification stipulates sentences of more than 10 years in prison, life imprisonment and up to the maximum penalty for killing, buying illegally, transporting or selling these animals, as well as their derivatives.

The measure will involve greater care and rescue of the specimens, guarantee natural areas for their development, a tireless fight against smuggling, the opening of research centers and a gene bank.

In addition, it will reinforce the ban adopted in 2018 to the trade of pangolin and its products, as well as the one that in 2007 prohibited its hunting.

The pangolin is believed to be the most trafficked mammal in the world, and in the last decade alone, close to a million were victims of poaching.

International estimates also put the number of flakes and other parts currently being smuggled at 20 tons per year.

That animal is again in the public spot because it is considered as the possible natural source of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 pneumonia, after scientists from China and Australia discovered similar pathogens in specimens smuggled here from Malaysia.

tgj / ymr / cvl

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