They are an endangered species and yet they continue to be caught, sun dried and grated. We are talking about seahorses, one of the most fascinating animals in the world, which is killed and used as a supposed medicine.
Seahorses are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in China, but stores are full of jars containing them as if they were normal products. These marine animals are used in local medicine as a powerful aphrodisiac.
Therefore, among shark fins, tiger bones and starfish, seahorses also become one of the ingredients for potions that according to the Chinese would be miraculous.
Loss of habitat, pollution, and acidification of the oceans have shown seahorses to be in serious danger of extinction.
THE LARGEST POPULATION OF SEAHORSES IS IN PORTUGAL
The most popular is the species Hippocampus capensis, endemic to South Africa, and it is estimated that Chinese medicine uses more than 20 million specimens that are traded for aquariums, medicine or to be a reminder.
Its drying is carried out in the street, as if it were something normal and not a crime to be punished.
One of the most prosperous markets is Guangzhou, northwest of Hong Kong, where, in a way that is not scientifically proven, poor seahorses are given miraculous powers against impotence.
An outdated practice that joins many others:
- We remember bears milked for their bile, which is believed to help reduce inflammation, expel toxins, improve symptoms of conjunctivitis and hepatitis, and treat headaches.
- Or the tiger bones that are used to treat arthritis and other common ailments like impotence.
- Lion bones to make sweets, wine and medicines too.
- In addition to the rhino horn, which is believed to cure fever, seizures, and hallucinations.
- Of the docile pangolins, the most trafficked animals in the world, which according to ignorance, their scales could improve kidney function, treat asthma and improve the signs of psoriasis.
This is just to name a few examples.
In short, useless and unsustainable traditions that do nothing but damage the natural system that has already been severely tested by climate change and habitat loss caused by human “development”.
What a shame!
Article in Portuguese