Endangered Species News Roundup

Sometimes, I pray for slow news days. Today is not one of them.

The World Wildlife Fund is calling for a three-year ban on bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean, saying that rampant overfishing will drive the much-desired fish into extinction if drastic measures are not taken immediately.

Spain has surprised conservationists by legalizing hunting of the rare Iberian wolf, a move actually supported by the EU governing body. "This cull will lead to the eventual loss of the Iberian wolf," said Theo Oberhuber of the conservation group Ecologistas en Accion. (Warning: grisly photo at the link.)

Who let the dogs out in Hawaii? Dogs that have been let off their leashes are being blamed for the deaths of endangered monk seals, as well as seabirds and other species.

China is continuing to release endangered Przewalski's horses back into the wild after more than 100 years of only existing in captivity. Too bad several of the released horses have already been killed by cars.

Talk about your kitchen nightmare. My favorite TV chef, Gordon Ramsay, made a boo-boo last week while trying to do some good. He urged Britons to take cod off their menus, as the species faces declining stocks and an unlikely future. But he suggested replacing cod with skate, an even more endangered fish, and sales of skate have reportedly skyrocketed as a result.

1.9% of Qatar's birds face extinction, as do 2.2% of its fish and sea-mammal species, according to the country's General Secretariat for Development Planning.

A decade of diseases has driven India's famous Wayanadan Pepper close to extinction.

Greece has banned all hunting until February 2008, following wildfires that destroyed 494,000 acres of land this past summer.

And finally, Asia's sun bear will be added to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species -- meaning that six of the world's eight bear species are now considered "vulnerable" or in immediate danger of extinction.

Let's hope for some better news as the week progresses.

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