Planet In Peril Returns Thursday Night!

Tomorrow night (Thursday December 11th), on CNN, Planet in Peril returns. You can read about the first Planet in Peril here, this 2008 special, “Planet in Peril: Battle Lines,” is hosted by Anderson Cooper, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” correspondent and National Geographic host Lisa Ling.

This time the team investigates serious environmental conflicts, including mass hunger in Cameroon and Congo, melting ice on the North Pole and shark-finning operations in Taiwan and Costa Rica.

Embedded video from CNN Video

Further information about the show and what they will cover was sent to me, and pretty interesting reading it is too. Watch the show at 9pm ET/PT on CNN if you can.


  • Humans kill at least 100 million sharks every year (WildAid)
  • The vast majority of caught shark fins will end up in soup.
  • Shark finning only utilizes 1-5% of the shark’s body-weight.
  • All recorded shark species, with one exception, have declined by more than 50% in the past 8 to 15 years.
  • Shark fins can sell for around 500 dollars a pound.
  • Sharks have existed for over 400 million years, 100 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared on land.
  • Sharks can take 20+ years to reach maturity and can live to 70 years and beyond.


  • The mountain gorilla is one of the world’s most critically endangered species. (WWF)
  • There are no mountain gorillas held in captivity in any legal zoo, private collection or captive breeding center anywhere in the world. (WWF)
  • The mountain gorillas’ habitat is one of the world’s worst conflict zones, straddling Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • A full grown mountain gorilla’s diet can include up to 60 lbs of vegetation a day.
  • Mountain gorillas spend a lot of their time traveling in search of food, as plants and trees change with the seasons.
  • An adult male gorilla can weight about 400 lbs and eats up to 60 lbs of vegetation a day.
  • When a silverback gorilla is standing upright (say, during a chest beating display) they can be as tall as 5 and a half feet tall. (Gorilla Fund)


  • 97% of children in La Oroya, Peru have elevated blood lead levels. Children’s young body tissue and bones are the most vulnerable to the ill health effects of lead. (Fernando Serrano, St. Louis University researcher)
  • 70% of adults in La Oroya, Peru have elevated blood lead levels. (Fernando Serrano, St. Louis University researcher)
  • La Oroya, Peru named one of the top 10 “World’s Worst Polluted Places” (Blacksmith Institute lists 2006, 2007)

And much more including the illegal Ivory trade in Chad, oil corruption in Nigeria and Zoonotic diseases in Cameroon.


4 thoughts on “Planet In Peril Returns Thursday Night!

  1. $500 a pound and 100,000,000 sharks a year!?!?! I don’t think so. Did anyone consider how much money the Chinese would be coughing up to actually make these statistics real?

    I think someone’s letting their exuberance get in the way of their math skills.


  2. Good point Mike, I didn’t really think about this, it’s essentially badly worded. It seems true that 100m sharks are killed every year, but no mention on how many of those are killed for their fins (amongst other things). A bowl of shark fin soup can cost $100 and have a tiny amount of shark fin (even though it’s essentially tasteless). The NY Times says fins cost over $700 per kilo which is around $315 per pound. So it seems it could be accurate depending on where and when they got their information.


  3. I know this might have little bearing on what goes on in East Asia, but I used to work on Hawaiian commercial tuna boats collecting data for the federal government. The crew were all either Pacific Islanders (Samoan, Indonesian, Solomon Islands, Filipino, or East Asian) and they only saved the fins from Short Fin Makos, not from any other species. They said it was the only species that would get them any money from the market in the Honolulu Chinatown. Of course, since these boats were subject to American fisheries regulations, they had to either retain the rest of the sharks’ bodies that they caught or cut the lines and let them swim away. Blue sharks, threshers, oceanic whitetip were all let go alive. So this causes me to believe that very few shark species are actually worth $500 a pound for fins.


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