At the International Symposium on Endangered Species Used in Traditional East Asian Medicine in Hong Kong in 1997, the bone of a wild mole rat, Mysospalax baileyi or sailong was put forward as a possible alternative. The sailong thrives on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau where it is considered a pest, devouring the roots of grass and contributing to depletion of the grasslands.

Prof. Zhang Baochen, from China's Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, says that no cases of arthritis or bone degeneration have ever been found in these rats and that locals use Sailong bones to treat post-partum rheumatism.

Others alternatives discussed at the Symposium included the bones of dogs, pigs, cows, goats, and other domestic animals.

The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have published a study carried out at Middlesex University and the Jodrell Laboratory, Kew Gardens into plant alternatives to tiger bones (and also bear bile and rhino horn). sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx