Viagra helps endangered species live longer

The advent of male impotency drugs has brought unexpected benefits to the animal kingdom, which no longer needs to sacrifice seals, deer and turtles to make traditional cures for erectile dysfunction, according to new research.

A survey of 256 men who used traditional Chinese medicine to cure their ailments found that when it came to sexual problems, more men were switching to pharmaceutical products such as Viagra.

“Those using traditional Chinese medicine are not switching for arthritis, indigestion or gout,” said pyschologist Bill von Hippel on Monday.

“Erectile dysfunction is the one case where all that reverses.”

Von Hippel, from Sydney’s University of New South Wales, conducted the survey with his biologist brother Frank von Hippel from the University of Alaska using funding from the makers of Viagra, Pfizer.

Their findings are published in the latest edition of British journal Environmental Conservation.

Their interviews with men aged between 50 and 76, conducted at traditional Chinese medicine clinics in Hong Kong, found that eight animals were most likely to be saved by Viagra-type drugs.

These include seals, whose penises are ground into a powder and used in a tonic, and green sea turtles which are made into a soup.

Also saved are sealions, pipe fish, sea cucumbers, seahorses and some species of Asian deer and geckos.

But Von Hippel, who began his research into this area in 1998, said Viagra would still not save tigers and rhinos because they were used to produce so many other cures. - Sapa-AFP

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