Yielding to conservationists, eBay will ban ivory sales. The aucton site is bannign all commerce in ivory, including most heirlooms, to avoid providing a market that will encourage the slaughter of endangered elephants. The announcement, made to the company’s merchants and customers, came as a conservation organization based in Massachusetts prepared to issue the latest in a series of reports documenting how online auction sites, particularly eBay, have become a magnet for trading in items derived from endangered species, among them rare birds and reptiles sold to collectors, ivory-handled walking sticks or bracelets and figurines carved from elephant tusks. — New York Times

Winds shift for renewable energy as oil price sinks, money gets tight. The prospects of renewable-energy companies soared with oil prices, but the global credit crunch and the easing of energy costs have brought them back to earth with a thud. With banks reluctant to lend and their stock prices tumbling, many green-energy concerns are struggling to find the long-term funding they need to expand in a capital-intensive industry. — Wall Street Journal (requires login)

Sharks use snot to hunt prey. Sharks use a gel-like substance on their heads to pick up electrical signals from the water, possibly to follow a bloody trail, according to a new study. The researchers say the results might explain why sharks chase bleeding prey, even when other ‘easy target’ prey is around and why the gushing blood obscures shark vision and smell. — ABC Science

Nature’s Best Photography Awards. The Nature’s Best Awards celebrates the beauty and diversity of nature through the art of photography, and to use this far-reaching medium as a creative tool for encouraging greater public interest in outdoor enjoyment and conservation stewardship. View the winning images that were featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. — MSNBC

Greenpeace’s piracy blacklist. Greenpeace has released “Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated”, a blacklist which the environmental group says is the first fully public, independent record of fishing vessels, support vessels and companies involved in pirate fishing. Globally, US $9 billion a year is lost to pirate fishing. Pirate fishing amounts to four times more than Pacific Island states earn in access fees and licenses. — Greenpeace
 

Peter Fray

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