- Hardcover: 312 pages
- Publisher: Shearwater Books,US; Revised and Teacher ed. edition (27 May 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1559635320
- ISBN-13: 978-1559635325
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,691,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Tiger Bone and Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine Hardcover – 27 May 2005
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"What a ride! "Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn" takes you on a road trip through horror and sorrow but leaves you infused with hope. Richard Ellis delivers a heart-achingly accurate account of the recent history of tigers, rhinos, and bears, and explains how much of their fate along with the fates of other rare animals rests in the hands of the growing black market for medicine made from their parts. While Ellis spares nothing in this landmark account of the wildlife trade, he also guides us toward what must be done to curtail it."--Sy Montgomery "author of "Spell of the Tiger" and "Search for the Golden Moon Bear" ""
"A minutely researched, powerful, passionate and brave book. That we are driving other species to extinction because we compete with them for space, or eat them (as "bush meat") is bad enough, but that we kill endangered animals in vast numbers to provide "medicinals" of no therapeutic value is heartbreaking. Richard Ellis shows us what we must do to stop this needless destruction."--Oliver Sacks "M.D., author of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and "An Anthropologist on Mars" "
"With its focus on staying healthy as opposed to treating illness, traditional Asian medicine is often hailed as a natural and friendly alternative to western therapies. In "Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn," Richard Ellis shows just how destructive and unsustainable many of these practices are."--Mark Norell "American Museum of Natural History, co-author of "Unearthing the Dragon" "
"To write a book such as "Tiger Bone & Rhino Horn" is a formidable undertaking. You must accumulate thousands of facts and spare no detail, no matter how terrible. It is always easier to write a piece of fluff and leave everybody smiling. But then, the horrors of poaching would continue unchallenged like as tent caterpillars consuming an apple orchard, our species mindlessly consumes the others of the earth. At present, the most significant hope for our planet may be knowledge, and Richard Ellis has done a heroic job in providing a large measure of that."--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas "author of "The Tribe of Tiger," "The Hidden Life of Dogs," and "Reindeer Moon" ""
About the Author
RICHARD ELLIS is the author of many books including The Empty Ocean (Island Press, 2003), see page 22, and No Turning Back (Harper Collins, 2004). Ellis is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, and a world-renowned artist.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Basically, the book examines the international trade in rare animal parts for medicinal purposes. These rare animals include various species of big cats, rhinos and other large mammals. The parts that are traded literally cover the entire animal, from the sexual organs to the bile, claws, horns, teeth, fur, eyes, etc. Though the book title specifies Chinese medicine, the destination for these animal parts also include Korea, Japan and other cultures around the Pacific Rim. The overall effect of this trade is the systematic destruction of several dozen species of mammals through illegal hunting, poisoning, and even the use of landmines! Poverty, or more specifically, income inequality drives the trade. The final destination of the animal parts are usually wealthy businessmen around the world. The suppliers are the poorest villagers in the Third World who do the hunting, trapping, and smuggling across borders.
The book does end on a good note as the author talks about the rising replacement of the rare animal parts with synthetics that are mass produced at a fraction of the price of the natural goods.
It just seems like this book could have been edited a lot better. Some chapters are pretty gripping; others feel overly long and detailed. I particularly struggled through the rhino horn chapter. Ellis sometimes delves too deeply into the historical significance of animal symbols and he gets a bit too tangential in certain parts.
The other way it could be improved is to add some more emotional punch to some chapters. Ellis is a journalist and he tries to mostly remain objective throughout, refusing to outwardly condemn Traditional Chinese Medicine and much of its ludicrous claims. Toward the end of the book, Ellis finally reveals his views on preserving endangered species. It's clear he is more toward the conservationist standpoint (similar to E.O. Wilson) rather than the welfarist standpoint (though he does have some sympathies at least toward the bears used for TCM). Despite the fact he's done an awful lot of research and cares deeply for the subject, his writing is mostly detached through much of the book. I believe that had he decided to interject his opinions more vocally, the book would have been a lot more enjoyable.
I think the book is still worth reading despite being some slow chapters. You will learn a lot about wildlife trafficking, some of the proposed solutions to helping animals, and at the very least see the dire straits of the animals drawn to the brink of extinction.
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