The repercussions of a lingering belief in unfounded traditional Oriental medicines have been most severe on already endangered wildlife worldwide. From using the rhino horn as an alleged aid to treat fevers to bear bile in the treatment of liver ailments, the demand for quack medicine due to superstition has led to an astounding blow to the world's collective animal fauna.
Horrifyingly, the latest discovery to hit the market has been frozen tiger cubs, heads and all, used to produce a glue that is believed to have medicinal properties.
Recently, the Vietnamese police arrested a man who was carrying the frozen carcasses of four tiger cubs. According to Thanh Nien News, he said he had bought the carcasses from a Laotian at a border market for VND 2 million (US $90), and planned to sell them for VND 8 million (US $358). He is thought to be a member of a wildlife trafficking gang.
Vietnam is actually notorious for its animal smuggling gangs, and sadly enough, the country is a massive consumer of tiger parts itself.
Apart from making the glue, the animal is also trafficked for meat, skin and claws. In fact, there's been a stark and highly worrying decline in the population of wild tigers in Vietnam from more than 100 in the early 2000s to less than five now, according to a World Wildlife Fund, and tigers were even declared extinct in Cambodia in April this year due to years of poaching.
Southeast Asia has a duty, and a moral obligation to crack down on such cruel, mindless and tragic practises, or the tiger may soon end up being just another animal swept away by the cruelty of humanity.