In Sri Lanka, fishermen catch manta rays for their feathery gill rakers. The rakers are exported to China, where it is believed they hold healing properties; they are sold as an ingredient in a medicinal tonic. As a result, manta rays and their close relatives, the mobula rays, are being rapidly fished from our oceans at a rate which will lead to the commercial extinction of these species within just a few decades.
A proposed new treaty, to be voted on next year at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, would provide international trade protection for seven species of manta rays and sharks.
Image from the feature Manta Rays, by Thomas Peschak.
Is there a good website or database out there which lists all the medicinal properties of various animal parts as enumerated in Chinese tradition? And if there’s a controlling logic as to why a particular animal part does a particular thing for you? I can concoct a thematic association between, say, rhino horn and shark fin as relates to fortifying male virility,but how does one look at the structure above and conclude that if you eat that, you’ll feel better?