Review Article

Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 1513-1522

First online:

A Global overview of canids used in traditional medicines

  • Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega AlvesAffiliated withDepartamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba Email author 
  • , Raynner Rilke Duarte BarbozaAffiliated withPós-Graduação em Ciência e Tecnologia Ambiental, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba
  • , Wedson Medeiros Silva SoutoAffiliated withPrograma Regional de Pós-Graduação em Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente (PRODEMA), Universidade Estadual da Paraíba

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Canids are among the mammal species most frequently used in traditional folk medicine around the world. In this context, this paper assesses the global use of canids in traditional folk medicine and their implications. Our review indicated that 19 species of canid are used in traditional medicine worldwide, representing 54.2% of described canid species. Of the species in medicinal use, two are listed as Endangered and three as near threatened on the IUCN Red List. For some species medicinal use represents an additional direct pressure that may have contributed to declines of natural populations. In addition, use of medicinal animals may have indirect impacts on the conservation of other species through the spread of disease. To minimize both harvest impacts and disease spread, guidance on use of medicinal species may be useful. This could include an exploration of the use of alternatives and implementation of sanitary measures.


Canidae Traditional medicine Animal conservation