The use of wild animals – including endangered mammal species – in traditional medicine

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In an analysis of published research, researchers identified 565 species of mammals that have been used to source products used in traditional medicine around the world, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Credit: Itamar Barbosa

In an analysis of published research, researchers identified 565 species of mammals that have been used to source products used in traditional medicine around the world, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The analysis, published in Examination of mammals, also found that 155 of these mammalian species are considered Threatened (Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered), and 46 others are Near Threatened.

The results suggest that overexploitation for medicinal purposes may be a neglected source of threat to mammalian species.

“Our study found that an impressive wealth of mammalian species – 9% of the 6,399 known species – are used in traditional medical systems around the world. We also point out that closely related species are used to treat similar diseases, ”said lead author Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves, PhD, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Brazil. “The widespread use of mammals in traditional medicine (including endangered species) is proof of the importance of understanding such uses in the context of mammalian conservation. The health aspects of the use of wild mammals by humans, and their implications for public health, are also key aspects to consider.

Reference: “A global analysis of the ecological and evolutionary drivers of the use of wild mammals in traditional medicine” by Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves, Anna Karolina Martins Borges, Raynner Rilke Duarte Barboza, Wedson Medeiros Silva Souto, Thiago Gonçalves ‐ Souza, Diogo B . Provete and Ulysse Paulino Albuquerque, December 8, 2020, Examination of mammals.
DOI: 10.1111 / mam.12233


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