Madagascar's tortoises are being wiped out by a "tortoise mafia" that authorities are powerless to stop. One reason: their shells are prized as an aphrodisiac in some parts of Asia. You might ask, "well, what hasn't been touted as the hidden folk-medical secret to letting old men impregnate everything in a five-mile radius?" The answer is: hardly anything.
Here are four more animals endangered by the myth that some part of their bodies contains the secret to irresistible tumescence:
Tigers and their penises
Is this a tiger penis being smuggled into New Zealand? You be the judge. All five remaining subspecies of tiger are critically endangered, and there are about 10,000 tigers left in the wild today, compared to more than 100,000 a century ago.
Rhinos and their horns
Rhino horns are basically giant fingernails — they're made out of keratin — but that hasn't convinced practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to replace them with nice sustainable toenail clippings when their erectile dysfunctional clients come calling. This has led park rangers in some countries to proactively remove rhino horns to make them unattractive to poachers.
Bears and their bile
Mmmm, poached bear gall bladders. Bonerlicious!
Scientists in India think that if they confirm the aphrodisiac and medicinal properties of seahorses, that will convince fishermen to set up hatcheries for the fish, instead of just harvesting them to extinction. We're not sure we follow that logic — some have suggested that a better alternative is free Viagra for everyone.
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