Singapore

Lack of awareness over antelope horn product from endangered animal

This article is more than 12 months old

One in five Chinese Singaporeans uses products from endangered antelope

One-fifth of Chinese Singaporeans use products derived from a critically endangered species of antelope, but many do not know about its conservation status, based on findings from local research.

The silver lining for the remaining 120,000 or so saigas roaming The Steppes of Central Asia is that demand for such products here has stabilised or declined, following restrictions, said traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) shops.

Saiga horns, commonly known as ling yang or antelope horns, are used in TCM to treat heatiness. They are sold in several forms, including as a drink and shavings.

The grassland animal used to number in the millions, but poaching and disease wiped out much of the population. Since 1995, the saiga trade has been regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Singapore is one of the largest markets for saiga products in the world, with China and Hong Kong.

The centuries-old remedy is favoured by older people, with two-fifths of ling yang consumers here aged 35 to 59 years old, the 2017 survey found. But many did not know how ling yang is obtained, or that the animal is endangered, said lead researcher Hunter Doughty, from the University of Oxford.

Alternatives to ling yang are plant-based remedies such as chrysanthemum tea, barley water or honeysuckle.

MEDICAL & HEALTH