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The use and prescription of pangolin in traditional Vietnamese medicine

Sexton, Rebecca, Nguyen, Trang, Roberts, David L. (2021) The use and prescription of pangolin in traditional Vietnamese medicine. Tropical Conservation Science, 14 . pp. 1-13. ISSN 1940-0829. E-ISSN 1940-0829. (doi:10.1177/1940082920985755) (KAR id:86737)


It is now acknowledged that demand stemming from traditional medicine stimulates a continued market for illegal wildlife trade globally. Increasing demand for pangolin fuels widespread unsustainable extraction and an illicit international trade that is threatening pangolin populations worldwide. Vietnam is an important transit country in this trafficking network and a significant consumer country, particularly due to their longstanding tradition of consuming wildlife products as traditional medicine. We conducted 51 semi-structured, questionnaire-based interviews with traditional Vietnamese medicine practitioners in Hanoi, Vietnam to explore the factors influencing their prescription of pangolin. The results show that traditional Vietnamese medicine practitioners are important drivers of pangolin use and that prescription continues despite prohibitive legislation. The main influencing factors were money, illegality (as a deterrent) and supply. Wealthier patients were more likely to use pangolin as medicine and patients generally trusted a doctor’s prescription. Awareness of regulations related to pangolin use in traditional medicine was low and pangolin use continued without fear of the law. Lactation, abscesses and circulation were the most prescribed uses for pangolin scales. All respondents believed that pangolin can be substituted, however, a belief remained that substitutes are inferior to pangolin. This study provides a unique perspective of pangolin use in one of the main pangolin consumption countries in the world. The results suggest that the law is not being implemented effectively and that increased enforcement efforts are necessary. Furthermore, these insights serve to inform future demand-reduction campaigns whereby the most common uses and substitutes for pangolin scales may be targeted.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1940082920985755
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: David Roberts
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2021 10:21 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 23:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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