launched a correction investigation of COA and DOH, accusing their administrative fault and sectionalism, which undermined Taiwan’s national conservation image, and demanded the problem to be solved. Subsequently, the COA instructed the local governments to reinforce the crack down on illegal selling of pangolin-based pharmaceuticals. On 18 Nov. 2000, the DOH issued a gazette, requesting that those who possessed protected species-based (e.g. pangolin, bear bile, musk, and Saiga antelope horn) pharmaceutical licenses should stop using these ingredients and apply to the DOH for the replacement of the altered licenses within three months after the gazette. The relevant actions taken by COA and DOH were reported to the Control Yuan and the case was finally closed on 18 Dec. 2000. RESEARCH AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION To promote a better understanding of Formosan pangolin’s life history and ecological requirements, the COA has provided funding over TWD11 000 000 (USD366 667) to support projects on various facets of pangolin research, including home range, activity pattern, ecological needs (1989-1993); captive breeding, nutrition and food analysis, activity pattern and habitat investigation (2002-2005); identification techniques of products thereof (2002); and a workshop on Chinese pangolin population and habitat viability assessment (2004). Although wild populations of Formosan Pangolins are not large, there are usually several occasions of pangolins picked up by people each year. Taiwan has set up a standard procedure, directed by the local governments, to handle the injured or strayed pangolins. Individuals are sent to zoos or wildlife rescue centers for treatments and a database was built. Pangolins are released to the wild after regaining health. In 1995, several research institutes, funded by the DOH, carried out studies on various aspects of the use of protected species in TCM, including market survey, ingredient analysis, and search for alternatives. The results showed that the availability of pangolin scales was limited, and counterfeits made with gelatin were found in the market. It was recommended that Wang Bu Liu Xing, or dried seeds of cowherb ( Vaccaria segetalis , Family Caryophyllaceae ), can be used as a substitute for pangolin scales with the same effectiveness. A survey of TCM traders and doctors showed that around half of the interviewees (54.2% were traders, 60.7% doctors) supported a ban on the use of pangolin scales in TCM. However, because pangolin scales have been used in TCM for thousands of years, the belief of their curing effects is deeply rooted; most TCM practitioners showed reservations about the effectiveness of substitutes. Another research in 2003 on the comparison between pangolin scale and cowherb seed on lactation performance, immuno-modulation, and anti-tumor effects of rats revealed that the effects of cowherb seed were equal to or even better than that of pangolin scales, suggesting the prospect of an ideal substitute in helping pangolin conservation.
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