The threat of traditional medicine:
China’s boom may mean doom for turtles
by Erin Crandall
For thousands of years turtles have been used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments and diseases. Originally published in the journal Radiata and recently republished HerpDigest David S. Lee and Liao Shi Kun write, “[In Chinese culture] turtles are symbolic of long life, personal wealth, fertility, strength, and happy households.”
Despite a lack of scientific evidence demonstrating a causative link between turtle consumption and medicinal benefits, many people in China believe they provide benefits such as maintaining youthful beauty in women and improving sexual function in men.
Because of these beliefs and their symbolic importance, turtles have been highly sought after for more than 3,000 years. However, in recent years, China’s economy has changed in a way that has become increasingly threatening to the country’s wild turtle populations…
(read more: MongaBay)
photos: Chinese three-striped box turtle (Cuora trifasciata), critically endangered - by Torsten Blanck; Reeves’ turtle (Mauremys reevesii) by O’Shea et al.