Friday, January 02, 2015

End of the line?

It bugs me that, in a world that contains this...

...the last one of these in the wild is going to wind up dying because some Chinaman thinks its toenails will give him a chubby.
A distressing number of the species listed in this article are teetering on the brink of extinction due to their use in what the author tastefully calls "traditional Chinese medicine". Translation: Your kids or grandkids will likely live in a world without the Amur leopard, Siberian tiger, and Javan rhinoceros because some guy who lived in a Shanghai penthouse and owned computers and smart phones still believed that ground up tiger gall bladders, or whatever, would put lead in his pencil*.

If I had Bill Gates money, I'd spend it on an ad campaign in China about the 'til-the-break-of-dawn properties of various wild pig and whitetail deer bits and subassemblies.

*Don't get too cocky. Plenty of Americans have McMansions and computers and smartphones and believe in homeopathy. But at least labeling a bottle of tap water as a 20C dilution of zinc oxide is unlikely to kill any tigers.

ETA: It turns out that "traditional Chinese medicine" has a boner, as it were, for deer penii. Which raises the question: Why can't I drive to Brownsburg without practically having whitetail in my lap because of the overpopulation of the Eagle Creek Park herd, and yet there are barely enough Javan rhinos on the planet for them to play an intramural game of American football? The Indonesian government is trying to protect the rhinos, while the mayor's office in Indianapolis would pay an enterprising Chinese dude to take some deer off its hands.