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Stories by John Platt

Shark fin soup: CITES fails to protect 5 species of sharks from overfishing and finning

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) this week decided not to create any new international trade restrictions to protect five endangered shark species, all of which are highly prized for their use in the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup, or, as I call it, "extinction in a bowl."Shark fin soup is particularly unappetizing dish to conservationists, as shark "finning" remains one of the most controversial hunting or fishing activities in the world...

March 25, 2010 — John Platt

Minor victories for tigers, elephants and rhinos at CITES meeting

The member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at their meeting in Doha, Qatar, this week passed resolutions to aid tigers, elephants and rhinos, three of the species most victimized by the illegal wildlife trade.Although none of the resolutions provide any new protections, they certainly can't hurt.For tigers the CITES member nations unanimously agreed to improve law enforcement, increase regional cooperation between the countries where tigers still live, improve population and crime data reporting, and create a tiger trade database that could be analyzed to develop anti-poaching strategies...

March 24, 2010 — John Platt

Study: High Arctic's biodiversity down 26 percent since 1970

Mammals, birds and fish living in the High Arctic experienced an average 26 percent drop in their populations between 1970 and 2004 due to the loss of sea ice, according to a new report from The Arctic Species Trend Index, "Tracking Trends in Arctic Wildlife." The 2010 report, commissioned and coordinated by the Whitehorse, Yukon–based Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), was presented Wednesday at the State of the Arctic Conference in Miami...

March 18, 2010 — John Platt

Report: Climate change is taking a toll on U.S. bird populations

North American bird species are "facing a new threat—climate change—that could dramatically alter their habitat and food supply, and push many species towards extinction," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Thursday when he announced the new report, "The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change."According to the report, climate changes will have "an increasingly disruptive effect on bird species in all habitats." Oceanic migratory species and birds living in Hawaii will face the greatest threats, according to the report.The report was a collaborative effort between the U.S...

March 14, 2010 — John Platt

Endangered in a Dangerous Land: Afghanistan expands its protected species list, including the "world's least-known bird"

Nine months after it created its first list of protected endangered species, the government has added 15 more to the list, including what has been billed as "the world's least-known bird."

The bird, the large-billed reed warbler ( Acrocephalus orinus ), had only been observed in nature twice—once back in 1867—before its nesting habitat was found in Afghanistan in 2006...

March 6, 2010 — John Platt
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