Endangered species news updates

Poisons, starvation, disease and cats... just some of the controversial stories in the news today.

Sound the bat alarm -- The deadly "white-nose syndrome" is spreading to more bat caves in Vermont, including one populated by the endangered Indiana bat. The disease is being called "very contagious," and wiped out more than 700 Indiana bats when it was first observed last year.

As if starvation weren't bad enough -- Back in December, we asked "what is killing India's endangered gharials?" So far, more than 100 of the rare and endangered crocodiles have mysteriously died. While the exact cause still isn't known, scientists are getting closer. New reports indicate that the gharial's primary food source, tilapia, is absorbing an as-yet-unidentified toxin from the water. The gharials eat the tilapia, their kidneys are poisoned, uric acid builds up in their joints until they can't move, and then they starve to death. What a way to go.

Cat-astrophe -- Cape May, New Jersey, is famously home to colonies of feral cats, cats which have a tendency to eat local shorebirds. Both the cats and the birds draw in tourists, but the birds are increasingly endangered by the cats. To protect the endangered shorebirds, the Cape May government may today make the controversial decision to catch and move the cats at least a half-mile away from nesting grounds. Cat-lovers aren't happy, but then again, they're not the ones being dined upon.

China's voracious middle class -- We've often written about how China is eating the world's endangered species into extinction. Now Foreign Policy magazine has published a list of the world's worst poaching markets. Sad photos and horrifying numbers abound.

Lynx victory -- Maine has enacted new rules governing the use of traps in the northern part of the state in a move to protect endangered Canada lynx. The rules eliminate traps with larger footholds, giving the lynx a better chance to avoid them. Good news at last.