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Last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought a renewed focus to an often ignored issue: degradation of our oceans. Liquid, solid, and acoustic pollution have devastating effects on marine habitats. The consequences—from entanglement in discarded fishing lines to disorientation from naval sonar—can be deadly.


Pollution poses a threat to marine life in many forms. Plastics such as six-pack rings tangle around the snouts and necks of sea lions, making it hard to breathe or eat. Fishing lines wrap around whales and dolphins, slicing off flukes and fins.

Oil, PCBs, and other chemicals can poison animals and kill plant life vital to some species’ survival.  Oil spills destroyed acres of sea-grass beds essential to dugong survival in the Persian Gulf after Operation Desert Storm.

And scientists believe naval sonar has caused mass strandings of dolphins and whales.
The HSUS works on many fronts to make the oceans safer homes for marine life.

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    Top UN Court Orders Japan to End Antarctic Whaling

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  • February 14, 2014

    On Heels of Major Criminal Bust, Shark Fin Distributors Drop Lawsuit

    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently seized 2,000 pounds of illegal shark fins from a San Francisco merchant. That merchant is a part of an association whose members sold and distributed shark fins to restaurants and grocery stores and who had sued the State of California challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on the sale and trade of shark fins. In the wake of this major bust, the association has voluntarily dismissed its legal challenge.

  • January 6, 2014

    China Destroys Confiscated Ivory Stockpile

    China, the world’s largest market for ivory products, destroyed 6.1 tons of its confiscated stockpile. The momentous event occurred in Guangzhou, a southern port city and main transit and destination point in the global ivory trade.

  • September 13, 2013

    Remaining Rhino Species Gets Immediate Protection Under U.S. Law

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately listed the southern white rhino as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, giving the species greater protection from poaching. With two or three rhinos poached every day for their horns, conservationists believe that within a few years’ time, there will be no more rhinos in the wild in Africa.

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