Record 3.5 tons of pangolin scales seized in China


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/02/record-3-5-tons-of-pangolin-sc.html


#2

A lot of people are making a lot of noise about Pangolin being harvested for their scales. They don’t seem to understand what a bangin’ stir fry Pangolin makes.


#3

God damn it. I know we are supposed to respect cultures and all, but I can’t really when the traditional medicine thing is fucking up a lot of animals (endangered and otherwise) for no reason. And they are the #1 buyers of ivory, as every new-rich Chinese wants a carved tusk for a status symbol. (Not literally everyone, but a lot.)

Though as a side note, I have been thinking really hard an alien invasion story. Like a realistic one. My link of thinking is things anti-gravity, FTL, and energy shields are all just fantasy. So what would an invasion be like with out those. And the aliens I want more alien. My idea was they were used to a world with a higher oxygen concentration, and thus fires were much more prevalent. This lead to the pants and animals being fire resistant, and thus the aliens have these keratin-like scales - just like our little pangolin friends.


#4

3.5 tons of pangolin scales

Oh, that’s where I left them…


#5

Quoting the BB text:

that required killing around 7,500 of the cure little anteaters.

Most excellent typo of the year, considering the topic at hand (and considering the date).


#6

It’s gotten to the point that when I think of China and certain other nations, I automatically think of them as primitively superstitious cultures. It is a reflexive attitude that I have unwittingly developed, primarily because of the out-of-control animal trade.

Of course, each culture is just as primitive and superstitious in its own way, and we in the West have issues with poachers and animal traders as well. It is partly an issue of culture and tradition, and partly an issue of human nature.


#7

Superstition is as old as man, and it isn’t limited to ANY culture - primitive or other wise.

Many Americans have their own superstitions, but most of them are harmless, and few if any involve hurting animals. I guess a lucky rabbits foot - but those rabbits are being killed for meat and fur, the foot is just being reused where it would normally just be trashed.

I am not even sure on the percentage of Chinese who believe in it. But even if it is 1% of the 1.4 BILLION Chinese living around the world, that is 14 Million people. That is a lot of Tiger Penises.


#8

Around here it’s elk antlers.


#9

If you want to stop this kind of illegal trade you will have to kill off the old traditional beliefs, otherwise you are just making the pangolin scales harder to get, more expensive, and thus more worthwhile to illegally sell. Supply and demand-- work on the demand, not the supply.


#10

Carved elk antlers? Haven’t seen that. I have seen them used for things like knife antlers and decor. Still, elk aren’t any where near endangered. Some are semi-farmed even.


#11

The biggest irony in all this is that there are tons of falsified products coming out of China, but they seem to use the “real deal” when it comes down to exterminating animals for silly “traditional medicine” cures.


#12

Yeah, the Chinese really do make a huge impact on a bunch of species. And I think it is fair to say it’s a disproportionate impact. We, in the US, have a disproportionate impact, too, based on our relatively lavish, wasteful lifestyles. We just have a more generalizied impact rather than species specific, as swaths of rain forest are cut down for wood, and for cattle grazing. As resources are ripped out of the ground, as fish are trawled out of the ocean. The generalized impact isn’t as iconic as “Dead pangolins!” but definitely as damaging in the long run.


#13

No one is cutting rain forests down to graze cattle in the US, but that is an issue in other areas.

The US has a lot of laws and processes in place for both environmental protection, and sustainable renewable resources. This includes forestry, ranching, mining, and fishing. My uncle was a hippy fisherman off of the coast of CA. You can ask him about the fishing laws, but don’t blame me if you gouge your ears out after the first hour.

No, the US isn’t perfect in how it handles everything, but it is 10x better than it was a short while ago and we are actively working on technologies to make it even better.

And one could argue that coal, wood, meat, etc actually DO something - feed us, warm us, cool us, make things we use - where as pangolin scales are at best placebos.


#14

True, but we import beef. And even where we aren’t importing it, the US demand for beef affects the global market. The vaguer connections are less compelling as a narrative, but just as damaging.

And I agree that the waste of animals for no valid reason whatsoever based on nonsense medicine is especially tragic. But not sure if it is any worse than “because pretty”.


#15

That’s what’s most confusing to me. You could sell talc to superstitious Chinese men with erectile dysfunction and tell them it’s powdered tiger penis or rhino horn or pangolin scales. It’s very unlikely anyone buying into that nonsense would have access to the scientific equipment needed to verify it. Why go to all the trouble of actually poaching endangered animals in remote locations? Hell, crush up a chunk of drywall and you can make far better profit margins.


#16

I can only assume it’s because the people doing the selling believe it too, and are genuinely interested in helping people who need medicine. How they reconcile that altruism with savagely and illegally exterminating the last vestiges of some of the world’s most beautiful and interesting animals, I’m not sure. Even if the medicine WASN’T fake, doesn’t it seem a little unethical to kill off a majestic tiger so some rando can get a boner?


#17

…for about five minutes until Trump takes effect.


#18

I’ve only once actually seen a real “lucky rabbit’s foot” from an actual animal. And it was my Utahn cousin, who kills shitloads of stuff anyway and eats nearly all of it. Otherwise, all I’ve seen are plastic foot-shaped hollow things, with synthetic fur wrapped around them, and hard plastic claws pressed into the narrow end.


#19

That’s a false dichotomy. Not everyone is exactly the same. But it’s certainly true that Americans are very superstitious.

But there are other cultures that are objectively less superstitious, and more science-oriented.

Human nature isn’t everything.


#20

If I recall correctly, you could get them out of gumball machines back in the '80s. Wherever I saw them, I remember them being dyed very vibrant artificial colors, which actually makes me think that they were probably real. I definitely recall manufacturers dyeing real fur to make it look fake and therefore be easier to sell. I suspect similar logic applied with the feet.