China reinstates ban on using tiger and rhino parts in traditional medicine

After the whole damn planet declared its disgust with China's lifting the ban on using tiger bones and rhino horn in medicine, the Chinese government has decided to back peddle on its declaration: using the exotic, endangered animals bits and pieces will remain off limits to the world of eastern medicine.

From The New York Times:

Making a rare concession, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said that it had decided to postpone an order made last month to undo a 25-year ban on the trade.

“The Chinese government has not changed its stance on wildlife protection and will not ease the crackdown on illegal trafficking and trade of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts,” Ding Xuedong, a top official with the council, said in remarks published in the state-run news media on Monday.

I'm having a hard time believing that anything to do with any government would be good news this year, but here we are.

It is worth noting, however, that the Chinese ban on slapping bones and horn into medicine isn't permanent. It could be rescinded at any point in the future. However, as The New York Times points out, China's working hard to sort out a greater share of respect on the world stage. Not murdering rare animals for their bits and pieces? That's an easy win.

Now if we could just get them to knock off the shit they're pulling with Muslims in their nation, we'll be getting somewhere.

Image by Soumyajit Nandy - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Read the rest

Super-fancy bird may comprise a second species

Sharp-eyed ornithologists noticed that some specimens of Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise that they observed looked different enough that they may be a separate species. They captured video of the other kind for comparison. Read the rest

Facebook is the hub of the global trade in endangered species: can securities law be used to force the company into action?

Stephen Kohn, a highpowered whistleblower lawyer (he repped both Linda Tripp and the UBS Leaks whistleblower) showed Wired his heretofore confidential SEC complaint against Facebook, which details the undercover sting operations undertaken by his clients to investigate Facebook's role as a platform for the illegal trade in the remains of endangered species, such as rhino horn, elephant tusks, and lion claws. Read the rest

Baby whales have to learn how to talk, too

Baby whales aren't very good at making various calls, but a new study shows that even adults continue to improve their calling techniques. Read the rest

Lacoste drops its iconic crocodile to bring awareness to 10 endangered animals

See ya later, er, crocodile.

For an extremely-limited edition line of polo shirts, Lacoste is temporarily replacing its iconic green crocodile logo with the likenesses of 10 different endangered animals. The French clothing brand partnered with BETC Paris and International Union for Conservation of Nature to choose the campaign's threatened species, ranging from the Anegada Rock Iguana (450 left) to the Vaquita (just 30 left).

They note:

For each species, the number of polo shirts produced corresponds to the number of individuals known to remain in the wild.

That means that, for example, only 450 Anegada Rock Iguana polos will be produced because there is only 450 of them left in the world.

Take a look. Lacoste's team even made the new logos to mimic the look of the original crocodile logo:

Only 1775 of these shirts will be made available in total (at around $183/each) and can only be purchased through Lacoste's French website. Proceeds benefits the preservation of these animals worldwide.

While I'm not a tennis prep (and not in Lacoste's market audience), I do admire the spirit of this campaign.

(Fast Company) Read the rest

A panda who was "really, really, ridiculously good at sex" brought the species back from the brink of extinction, but things are still weird

Pan Pan is a panda who was rescued from starvation in the wild when he was a cub, in 1986. Since then, he has gone on to father 120 of the 520 pandas alive in captivity. Read the rest

Albino orangutan will share her own forest island with two friends

Alba is the only known albino orangutan. She was rescued by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation after being held in captivity, where she suffered from dehydration and parasites. Now BOSF plans to build a special sanctuary just for her and two orangutans with whom she's bonded. Read the rest

Magnificent photo of severely endangered rhino

My pal John Curley, the multitalented bassist in the Afghan Whigs and Plastic Ants, took this incredible photo of Harapan the Sumatran rhinoceros at the excellent Cincinnati Zoo. Sadly, Sumatran rhinos are one of the world's most endangered animals with around 100 left on Earth. John says:

Harry is friendly, good-natured and adored by everyone at the zoo. He loves bananas and quiet walks on the beach at sunset (I'm kidding about that last part). Thanks to @mdcurley my amazing wife, for the unique opportunity to see this rare and beautiful creature up close.

Sumatran Rhino Project (Cincinnati Zoo)

Follow John on Instagram! Read the rest

You probably need more baby quolls in your life

Quolls are marsupials native to Tasmania and Australia, though very few live in the wild in Australia due to decimation by foxes and feral cats. Perhaps the cutest pics are from Craig Borrow of the Herald Sun: Read the rest

Border collie surrounded by otters

View post on imgur.com

I don't know the inspiration of this fun (and clearly photoshopped) image of a border collie surrounded by sea otters, but I don't really need to because it's awesome.

On a serious note, sea otters are in trouble. Populations of this endangered species are dwindling as a result of pollution, disease, unprecedented predation by sharks and killer whales, and other factors. In just 30 years, the species has declined over 50 percent.

Support conservation groups such as the National Wildlife Federation to help sea otters and other wildlife. Read the rest

Flying rhinoceros

In South Africa, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife used a Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter to relocate a rhino threatened by poachers, a process incredibly documented by Emma Gatland and featured on National Geographic. Read the rest

Two Americans arrested in international narwhal smuggling ring

Okay, which of you all just got busted for smuggling narwhal tusks? Fess up. It was either one of you, somebody from Reddit, or both, right?

Image: N is for narwhal - finished, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from notahipster's photostream Read the rest