The latest version of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia for 2020 does not include pangolins, which means the mammals will no longer be used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
The move came after China upgraded all species of pangolin from second-class to first-class protected animals considering their rapidly decreasing numbers due to over-hunting and habitat destruction.
According to the latest version of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, “depleted wild species will be withdrawn from the pharmacopoeia.”
Following the policy changes on pangolins, which are believed to be one of the world’s most endangered animals and the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal, lately, the Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) Dr. Zhou Jinfeng answered some questions from Ms. Alexis Kriel, a rep from African Pangolin Working Group. The following are the answers by Dr. Zhou.
First, the two steps of upgrading pangolins to a national level-I protected species and delisting it from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Pharmacopoeia, which we have fought for over the past years, are key to the conservation of pangolins in China as well as in the whole world. I can assure you that we will see a significant drop in the number of confiscated pangolin and their scales starting this month and let us see what will happen towards the end of the year and next year.
I am sure I am right because we are really doing the work of conserving pangolins for the past years, so we know what the problem is. This is also why others come to us.
Yes, we do sue some authorities for approving the use of other species of pangolins in medicine, which was illegal in the past as well.
But previously, most of the time they did not distinguish different pangolin species and collectively called them pangolins. Legally, it is not allowed to use other species in traditional Chinese medicine.
This change with Chinese Pharmacopoeia will fundamentally stop the legal use of pangolins’ scales in China. And this change will save all pangolin species.
Yes, in the past other species were also seen and caught in China. Using them as medicine is always illegal, whether in the past or now.
We have four steps to conserve pangolins: to upgrade pangolins to a national I protected species, to remove pangolins from the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, to release all farmed pangolins, and burn all the confiscated pangolin scales.
(The above is sorted according to the content of the recording and has not been verified by the speaker himself.)