“A horrendous slaughter is going on out here,” said Peter D. Ward, a biologist from the University of Washington, during a recent census of the marine creature in the Philippines. “They’re nearly wiped out.”
The culprit? Growing sales of jewelry and ornaments derived from the lustrous shell. To satisfy the worldwide demand, fishermen have been killing the nautilus by the millions, scientists fear. Now marine biologists have begun to assess the status of its populations and to consider whether it should be listed as an endangered species to curb the shell trade.
A very sad article about an animal who is being hunted into endangerment but is largely unnoticed. Their shell, a naturally occurring logarithmic spiral, is a coveted example of a natural work of art, but their harvest may be putting their population at risk.