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Post-Thanksgiving Endangered Species News Catch-up


More species risk extinction than there were calories in your Thanksgiving meal. Here's some of the latest news:

As if polar bears didn't have enough problems, now comes word that hunting policies -- which favor the culling of male bears -- have created a gender inequality which could, if trends continue, further weaken the species' ability to survive. Normal population trends would see 2-3 male bears for every female, but current populations are at a 1-to-1 ratio and dropping, according to a new study.

Sorry Charlie. Another species of tuna now faces extinction according to the WWF, which says that excessive fishing of Bigeye tuna has resulted in a population collapse. According to WWF, as much as 60% of current Bigeye catches are juvenile fish, which will make it impossible for the population to sustain itself. Bigeye tuna is highly valued in Japan for use in sushi and sashimi.

In Cameroon, conservationists are trying to raise awareness of the sad fate of the last 300 Cross River gorillas, the world's most endangered species of primate. Nearby, scientists report that highly desired medicinal plants may soon be extinct on Mt. Cameroon due to unsustainable harvesting. (It doesn't help that Mt. Cameroon is also an active volcano.)

It sucks to be a shark in the Mediterranean. According to a new IUCN report, 42% of all shark and ray species in the Mediterranean now face extinction due to overfishing (including bycatch, when they are caught while fishermen are seeking other types of fish).

And finally, Christmas Island's famous red crabs have a reason to be crabby. Invasive ants are killing off the crustaceans at an alarming pace -- the population has been halved in the last ten years, putting the species at risk of extinction.