News Round-up: Cheetahs Have No Where To Run and Whale Meat Rots In Iceland

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1. As Tet, the end of the lunar year in Vietnam arrives, celebrities are speaking up against the use of wildlife products in gifts and food items during this annual event. A Thai news source reveals that 5 celebrities will advise against the traditional belief that wildlife products are a symbol of high social status. Also out of Vietnam, customs inspectors have seized a huge shipment of wild animals bound for dinner tables in China.

2. The Washington Post reports on astonishing water bird population statistics: 44 percent of the 900 species globally have fallen in the past five years! The most visible effects of habitat destruction are throughout Asia where water bird territory is being converted for commercial use: fish farms, tourist resorts, etc.

3. The same cheetah that has been long extinct in India, now faces extinction throughout its remaining homeland. The tune of poaching and habitat destruction rings again. 60 cheetahs at most are left to fight this challenge. Conservationists hope to better monitor poaching while increasing the abundance of prey, to secure a functioning food chain once again.

4. Kazakh border guards arrested a man trying to smuggle 500 parrots in his car from neighboring Uzbekistan, Reuters reports.

5. Shark-smuggling pastor catches one year in prison. And what is even more disturbing is that this pastor turns out to be the lead conspirator of a large scale illegal wildlife trade operation. 465 juvenile leopard sharks had already been sold and shipped worldwide.

6. Whale meat from the horrific Icelandic hunt that was broadcast in October is now being devoured by seagulls. Several hundred tons of whale meat has not been used and will most likely go to waste. Even more appalling, 179 tons of whale meat has been buried at a landfill site.

7. In recent weeks Congolese rebels have been accused of killing and eating the highly endangered mountain gorilla; there are only 700 left in the wild. Reuters reports that a meeting organized by the United Nations and Congolese army officials resulted in an agreement that the killings for consumption would stop.

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