Archive for the ‘Wildlife News’ Category

‘Lush’ Chameleons Creamed

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Here is something out of the ordinary–a cosmetics campaign for BETTER reptile care, and shut down!  Usually the fashion industry is in the business of killing reptiles for handbags.   BUT, in this case a fashion house went out in favor of better reptile care and the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority shut the Lush Cosmetics advert campaign down for pointing out that trade drives some species to extinction. 

This is certainly true for some chameleon species (the Roti Island Snake Necked Turtle might also agree, for example).  Wild-caught chameleons fare horribly in the pet trade, often dying within a year, often dying in-transit.  Here’s an online source the ASA might have started with September 2001 CHAMELEON information Network Journal No. 41,   p. 11 by Ardi Abate, or even this:

Froggie Food Fights Foreshadowed

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012


Here are a couple of stories on a growing problem, or at least an always-evolving problem, the use of reptiles and amphibians as human food.  

Popular among Asians and re-located rednecks, bullfrogs in San Francisco are bringing in the chytrid virus, a deadly amphibian disease that is wiping out frogs around the world.  Here’s a well-written piece on the bullfrog dining issue by John Upton via NY Times Blog.  For more on the virus or on frogs in general go to Kerry Kriger’s comprehensive Save the Frogs, and remember April 28 is Save the Frogs Day (which doesn’t, of course, mean leftovers).

The Washington Post recently had this story on the sale of live animals in Asian supermarkets–live crayfish, eel, bass, bullfrogs, etc.–which are often raised on farms.   The Virginia state agent is wrong when he says in the story that history shows when wildlife is commercialized the population dwindles.  History shows that when wildlife is taken from the wild on a commercial scale its population dwindles, but when wildlife is farmed, as is the case with the species in the story, that is not always the case.   It depends how valuable the animal is price-wise, its reproduction rate, commitment of law enforcement, and the viability of its wild population:  rabbits are better farmed, tigers are not.  American alligators, once on the verge of extinction and now prolific and widely farmed, make a great case study.  They do not, however, make for especially good eating.

My own version of these stories occurred at a pet store not long ago.  I was looking at a pair of red-eared slider turtles swimming around a tank.  An Asian woman standing next to me said to her boyfriend, “They’re so cute.  I just want to take them home and have them for lunch.”  I have heard the same thing about lobsters in Maine, sans the cute part.



Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Now that’s some Food versus Man:

Rotten food added to ‘specialty meats’

 The Environmental Crime Prevention Police Department recently discovered a sophisticated operation that was upgrading rotten meat to become ‘specialty meats’ in a business facility in Binh Tan district. The facility collected pork, rotten meat and low-price pythons to make the ‘specialty meats’. One worker said that dyed pork combined with pig’s blood became ‘ostrich meat’. Another method employed to make ‘ostrich meat’ was to impregnate pork with sulfur dioxide. Even fake crocodile meat was produced from rotten pork. The meat would then be supplied to many famous restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnamese version, republished from Tien Phong newspaper, January 18, 2012