Whale Sharks Are Being Slaughtered in China

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Other sharks are not enthused.

Just when Chinese sharks thought it was safe to go back into the water — thanks to shifting cultural attitudes toward consuming shark-fin soup, for the most part — here's disturbing news that one species is being slaughtered en masse: Up to 600 whale sharks, which are gentle filter-feeders classified by the IUCN as a "vulnerable" species, have been illegally "slaughtered annually for their stomach, lips, cartilage, oil and fins" since 2010, according to a new report. Sinosphere reports that carcasses can fetch up to $31,000 apiece, with organs, flesh, and skin being put into everything from food to supplements. Whale sharks, along with basking and great white sharks — which the report asserts are also being slaughtered — are protected species in China. [Sinosphere/NYT, Earlier]