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Decimating Shark Population for Some Soup: Rising Demand for Fins Contributes to Decline in Shark Population, Critics Charge

The practice is particularly crude and cruel, critics say. The "finners" pull the sharks onto the boat, hack off some or all of their four fins, then throw the shark, usually still alive, back into the water. Unable to swim, the sharks sink to the bottom of the sea and die.

"Not only is it horrible to look at," says Peter Knights, the executive director of Wildaid, a conservation group, "but it's sheer waste. Ninety-five percent of the shark is thrown overboard."

China’s elites and WildAid launch Chinese initiative to save endangered species and sharks

Today, leading Chinese stars - Yao Ming, Li Ning and Liu Huan jointly launched WildAid's public awareness campaign to protect endangered species and in particular sharks from high levels of consumption, which threaten them with extinction.

Yao Ming Swears Off Shark's Fin Soup

NBA star Yao Ming pledged Wednesday to give up eating shark's fin soup, a Chinese delicacy, as he joined a campaign to promote wildlife protection. "Endangered species are our friends," Yao said at a news conference organized by the London-based conservation group WildAid.

The group said China is the world's biggest importer of shark's fins, which conservationists say are cut from sharks that are thrown back into the ocean to die.

Endangered Wildlife Moves Up Wealthy Chinese Menus

Chinese police have seized hundreds of bear paws and dead pangolins smuggled into China where they are prized as an expensive culinary delicacy with uses in traditional medicine.

Police made 20 arrests in a smuggling ring in the south-western province of Yunnan, seizing 278 bear paws and 416 pangolins which had been brought in by lorry or train from Yunnan to three neighbouring provinces between December and January this year, according to a report in the Yunnan Daily.

The pangolins, which resemble armadillos, had been injected with tranquillisers to keep them quiet.

Tribute to Peter Benchley, Author and Conservationist

WildAid lost a dear friend this week as author and ocean advocate Peter Benchley sadly passed away, aged 65. Our condolences and best wishes are with his wife, Wendy, and the rest of their family in Princeton, New Jersey.

Peter had been seriously ill since last year, but when I last spoke to him we had hoped that his health would return and we were looking forward to traveling together again and perhaps even getting to dive with sharks, as he would have been writing an article about our work to protect sharks in the Galapagos and Asia.

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