EIA research reveals that at least 24 Chinese pharmaceutical companies have been listing leopard bones as an ingredient in their traditional medicines, although there are fewer than 450 wild leopards left in that country.
The illegal killing of leopards for their body parts in Asia is driving the species towards extinction. They have already disappeared from Laos, Vietnam and Singapore and are on the brink of extinction in several other countries. Demand for their bones, primarily from Chinese consumers, is one of the drivers of the trade. Leopard bone is used in similar ways to tiger bone, steeped in rice wine to produce health tonics and used in other traditional medicines.
The full scale of China’s domestic leopard bone trade and the total number of companies involved remains largely unknown because of a lack of Government transparency.
The Government of China is urged to end the use of threatened wildlife in traditional medicine.