Armed with the knowledge that a loop-hole in the law to protect endangered species had been closed, officers from the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit were able to raid a Traditional Asian Medicine shop in Lisle Street, Chinatown yesterday and confiscate around 200 products believed to contain ingredients sourced from tigers, leopards, musk deer and other rare species.
Operation Charm has been working with the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade for many years to eliminate the sale of products made from endangered species. The introduction of a sticker scheme to help the public identify lawful traders certainly helps but, as this raid shows, demand for these products still exists. It is the misguided people seeking tiger bone wine to help their arthritis or rhino horn to treat swine flu that keep this multi-million pound black market afloat and threaten some of our favourite nature documentary stars with extinction.
If you have information regarding the illegal sale of products containing endangered species you can contact the Wildlife Crime Unit on 0207 230 8898 or via the Operation Charm website at www.operationcharm.org.