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Actress Bo Derek and Assistant Secretary of the State Claudia McMurray to Address Wildlife Trafficking at Local College
By: Rebecca Wilkowski, ACTCM Staff
10/12/2006 - According to researchers, on hundred years ago there were eight different kinds of tigers, with over 100,000 wild tigers in the world. Today, there are only five tiger subspecies left and there are fewer than 5,000 wild tigers in the world.

On October 18, 2006 the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine will be host to a groundbreaking discussion on species conservation. Leaders from the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) will meet to Claudia McMurray, the Assistant Secretary of the State for Oceans, Environment and Science, and actress Bo Derek, the Special Envoy of the Secretary of State on Wildlife Trafficking Issues, to hear about U.S. foreign policy initiatives to address the illegal trade in wildlife and to discuss the TCM community's views on the use of endangered species, particularly tigers. Ms. McMurray started the U.S.-led Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT), a unique voluntary public-private coalition of like-minded governments and international organizations that are committed to help address the growing threats to wild animals from poaching and illegal trade.

From 9:30am to 12:00pm McMurray and Derek will tour the College's campus and clinic, speak with TCM leaders and doctors, and discuss species conservation in Chinese medicine. From 12pm to 12:30pm there will be a press conference and photo opportunity for invited members of the Chinese-speaking media based in San Francisco.

Topics for the day's discussion include: The role of tiger bone in Chinese medicine; the difference between medicinal use of tiger bone and the "tonic" use of products such as tiger bone wine; the San Francisco TCM community's involvement in tiger conservation; TCM practitioners' support of the ban on the use of tiger bone; substitutes for tiger bone used by TCM practitioners; the trade in tiger bone by TCM practitioners in China; how to encourage practitioners to practice TCM without the use of tiger bone and other highly endangered species; ACTCM;s role in species conservation, including the tiger.

ACTCM began its efforts to raise public awareness about endangered species in 1998 when it partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to build public support for tiger, rhino, and endangered species conservation. By combining the expertise of both institutions, the message of supporting healthy people and a healthy planet has reached thousands of people, bridging the communication gap between the conservation and TCM communities.

ACTCM's partnership with WWF has developed a public outreach initiative on endangered species use in traditional medicine, and represents an important conservation milestone. The College and WWF have achieved great success in reaching key communities in a way that is culturally credible and scientifically sound. This is the first systematic effort to educate conservationists about traditional Chinese medicine in health care and to educate TCM users in North America about endangered species.

ACTCM and WWF have organized the "Saving the Tiger" symposium held in San Francisco in 1998 and the "Healthy People, Healthy Planet Conference on TCM and Wildlife Conservation" in Beijing, People's Republic of China in 1999. The latter conference was supported by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the "Save the Tiger Fund" from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Johnson and Johnson, and other foundations. These events brought together TCM specialists, conservationists, law enforcement officials and CITES experts, and TCM retailers to address wildlife conservation.

On December 5, 2005, Save the Tiger Fund (STF), a program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, entered into a three-year agreement with the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) in Beijing, and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco, to conduct a global campaign against the use of tiger bones as a medicine and tonic. WFCMS is a quasi-governmental NGO attached to the State Administration for Traditional Chinese Medicine and has 147 member associations in China and around the world, giving it the power to bring together the entire industry that has for centuries posed a threat to wild tigers.

ACTCM, a non-profit institution, has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture and Chinese medicine since 1980. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted "Best of the Bay" by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

For more information on the October 18th pres conference or the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its role in animal conservation, please contact the College by telephone at (415) 355-1601 ext. 12.