The dolphin roundup by a Japanese community is an annual hunt. But this time, new U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has weighed in with displeasure. That puts her on the side of several wildlife and animal rights advocates who've condemned the annual slaughter. The Japanese defend it as traditional — just as the U.S. does with native Alaskans who kill whales.
"People know about the global trade in shark fins, but few know that some of the most valuable fins ... used in shark fin soup come from the sharklike rays — species like sawfishes and wedgefishes and guitarfishes," says Sonja Fordham, who contributed to a new analysis of the fisheries.
These cousins of the shark send thousands of waders and surfers yelping for medical help each year. A powerful toxin in the barb of the ray's tail triggers a "knifelike pain" that can last for hours. Best prevention? Do the "stingray shuffle."
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Rhinoceros horns now sell for more on the black market than cocaine or heroin. Demand from Southeast Asian consumers is primarily to blame. In order to cash in, thieves have begun targeting a different kind of rhino habitat: museums. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with journalist Adam Higginbotham about the so-called "Rathkeale Rovers," a gang suspected of several thefts.
The rare northern spotted owl species faces habitat loss and, now, intruding barred owls. A biologist, and the federal government, have made a difficult decision — killing one owl to ward off the extinction of another.
An anti-SeaWorld movement has unfolded online and on social media in the wake of the documentary about the death of an orca trainer at the park. Musical acts and schoolchildren have boycotted the theme park — but it's still drawing big crowds.
The motivation for flying with other birds in V formation is probably to save energy, say researchers who tracked the pattern of wing flaps in an ibis flock. Each bird in the V catches a bit of lift from the bird ahead.
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