Investing in Extinction: How the global financial sector profits from traditional medicine firms using threatened species

Leopards and pangolins are threatened with extinction and are among the most trafficked mammals on the planet.

The two species are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which prohibits international commercial trade in them, their parts and derivatives. Additionally, CITES has recommended voluntary internal trade prohibitions for leopards since 2002 and the closure of domestic commercial markets contributing to poaching or illegal trade of leopards since 2019 and pangolins since February 2023.

However, EIA’s research, conducted over the past two years, reveals the continued online availability of at least 88 traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products stated to contain leopard, pangolin and, in a few cases, tiger and rhino, manufactured by 72 Chinese companies which have been licensed by the National Medical Products Administration of China.