Tilapia Replacing Shark Fin in Soup?

John R. Platt  The unsustainable demand for the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup is directly responsible for the slaughter of more than 70 million sharks every year. In a process known as finning, the sharks are caught, pulled onto boats, stripped of their valuable fins and dumped back into the ocean where they … Continue reading

Are the wild horses of the American west native?

Bob Holmes THE wild horses of the American west should be considered a native species as fully deserving of protection as elk or antelope, even though they are the descendants of domestic livestock introduced by European settlers. Or so claim animal rights groups. In a case before a US federal court they are arguing that … Continue reading

Global Catastrophic Amphibian Declines Have Multiple Causes, No Simple Solution

Amphibian declines around the world have forced many species to the brink of extinction, are much more complex than realized and have multiple causes that are still not fully understood, researchers conclude in a new report. The search for a single causative factor is often missing the larger picture, they said, and approaches to address … Continue reading

Time-lapse video captures Jumbo sex

Michael Marshall … The time-lapse video was captured by a camera trap placed by the charity Fauna & Flora International, which is trying to gather a year’s worth of data on the wildlife in the area. Asian elephants are endangered: after having formerly ranged across most of south Asia, they are now confined to small … Continue reading

Unknown, Uncontacted Tribe Photographed in Brazilian Jungle

By Brandon Keim  A previously uncontacted tribe has been found in Amazon jungle, with aerial photographs giving a glimpse of people who’ve had no known contact with anyone except their tribal neighbors. Taken by Brazil’s Indian Affairs department, the photographs were released Jan. 31 by Survival International, a tribal-advocacy group. About 100 uncontacted tribes are … Continue reading

The Serpent King

How a notorious Malaysian wildlife smuggler was brought to justice — and what it tells us about stopping the world’s most profitable black market. BY BRYAN CHRISTY It began almost innocently. A broken lock on a suitcase moving through Kuala Lumpur International Airport this summer led to an odd discovery: nearly 100 baby boa constrictors, … Continue reading

Rare scaled mammal threatened by traditional medicine

by Debora MacKenzie  A Sunda pangolin, not putting up much of a fight (Image: Stephen Hogg/WWF Malaysia) An unprecedented haul of records from wildlife smugglers in Borneo has revealed the scale of the illegal trade in pangolins. They show that between May 2007 and December 2008, the smugglers bought at least 22,200 endangered Sunda pangolins, … Continue reading

One in five vertebrates threatened by extinction

By Tim De Chant | Last updated about 3 hours ago Conservation efforts for the golden lion tamarin have been underway for 30 years, yet it is still endangered. KRO-Media Twenty years ago, nearly all the world’s nations agreed to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. (The United States signed the accord but, … Continue reading

20 die in air disaster after smuggled crocodile escapes on a plane

By John Platt Wildlife smugglers will do just about anything for a quick buck, including sneaking a live predator onto an airplane with no regard for the risk to the animal or fellow passengers. This illegal activity reached a devastating and absurdist extreme recently when a man reportedly smuggled a live crocodile onto a plane … Continue reading

Horror fly returns from the dead

Species: Thyreophora cynophila Habitat: Oak forests in central western Europe – on and around dead mammals This week: a mythical beast, not seen for more than 160 years. A nocturnal animal that feeds on the rotten flesh of large mammals. A species active only during the winter months that reportedly emits a luminous glow from … Continue reading

Horn of rarity: Asia’s ‘unicorn’ resurfaces after 10 years–then dies

By John Platt  One of the world’s rarest mammals, the antelopelike saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), has been effectively invisible since 1999, the last time the elusive creature was observed by scientists. Well, one of them finally turned up again. Too bad it died soon after. A single male saola was captured late last month outside a … Continue reading

New monkey species already looks scared

Meet Callicebus caquetensis: a new species of titi monkey that has been discovered in the Amazon. The monkey was found in a region called Caquetá, in the south of Colombia, which had been inaccessible for many years due to a violent insurgence. About the size of a cat, the Caquetá titi has grey-brown hair and … Continue reading

Close call for endangered moapa dace as fire destroys only habitat

By John Platt A massive 245-hectare fire near the town of Moapa, Nev., did $2.5 million worth of property damage in July and destroyed the Warm Springs Oasis, home to the little-known moapa dace (Moapa coriacea), an endangered fish that lives in the springs. But despite fears to the contrary, the fish were able to … Continue reading

The Most Isolated Man on the Planet

He’s alone in the Brazilian Amazon, but for how long? By Monte Reel. The most isolated man on the planet will spend tonight inside a leafy palm-thatch hut in the Brazilian Amazon. As always, insects will darn the air. Spider monkeys will patrol the treetops. Wild pigs will root in the undergrowth. And the man … Continue reading

Road killed: Australia’s common wombat could soon be uncommon

By John Platt. The common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) is, as its name suggests, fairly common in Australia. In fact, the indigenous badgerlike mammal is often considered to be a pest. But widespread species are usually ignored because they are pervasive, and in the case of V. ursinus new research warns that the meter-long marsupials could … Continue reading

A tiny primate is rediscovered after 65 years

By John Platt. After a 65-year disappearance, the mysterious Horton Plains slender loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides) has been photographed for the first time, reports the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The tiny primate appeared to have gone extinct in 1939 after its Sri Lankan forest habitats were clear-cut to create tea plantations. A chance encounter … Continue reading

Polar Rare: The Arctic’s apex predator could disappear from Hudson Bay in 10 years

By John Platt. Canada’s western Hudson Bay could lose its population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in as little as a decade, according to new research by biologist Andrew Derocher and others from the University of Alberta (U.A.). Derocher tells Yale Environment 360 that the polar bears in western Hudson Bay have lost 25 percent … Continue reading

Will the Oil Spill Kill Sperm Whales?

A group of endangered sperm whales live in the vicinity of the oil spill–and now one of them has turned up dead. David Biello reports. The NOAA ship Pisces discovered a dead sperm whale on June 15—a possible victim of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  There are at least 1,600 such … Continue reading

It’s Not the End of Men

Contra Hanna Rosin, the problem isn’t men; it’s traditional gender stereotypes. Ann Friedman. With each step that American women have taken on the road to equality, detractors have fretted about what their advancement means for men — particularly the "manly man." The lumber jack. The quarterback. The captain of industry. Clint Eastwood. Sure, we occasionally … Continue reading

Animal Activists Protest Orangutan Kickboxing

Animal activists are up in arms over a Thai theme park that pits orangutans against each other in the country’s national sport—kickboxing. Visitors to Bangkok’s Safari World theme park are treated to a 30-minute spectacle of orangutans fighting each other while dressed in bikinis and boxing trunks, and despite being on the endangered species list, … Continue reading

South African gamblers smoke endangered vulture brains for luck

By John Platt. As the World Cup launches in South Africa this week, conservationists fear that gamblers looking for a little extra luck will turn to a source those of us in the West might not expect: the practice of smoking vulture brains. The custom stems from the traditional medicine known in South Africa as … Continue reading

Endangered-porpoise numbers fall to just 250

Time is running out for vanishing vaquitas. Rex Dalton. At the northern end of the Gulf of California, where the Baja peninsula joins the rest of Mexico, the world’s most endangered marine mammal is inching closer to extinction. With adults only 1.5 metres long, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), a rare porpoise found only in these … Continue reading

Caviar poaching kills Russia’s noble "Tsar fish"

By Heleen Van Geest. ZELENGA, Russia (Reuters) – As glum Russian fishermen haul in their net, just two small sturgeon are splashing about among the daily catch. The scene on the Volga River has become commonplace in modern Russia, where caviar poaching has decimated the species considered a national pride. "In the old days, we … Continue reading