Source: Washington Post

At least 25 percent of the world's wild mammals are at risk of extinction, according to a survey released yesterday.

Mammals that live on land face hunting and the loss of their habitat, while those that live in the water are threatened by pollution and by accidental killing through fishing and being struck by ships.

Large species such as primates (including the Sumatran orangutan and red colobus monkeys) and ungulates (hoofed animals) are more threatened than small creatures, such as rodents and bats.

Large mammals are less common than smaller ones, they are hunted more often and they need more land to survive.

Primates face some of the most intense pressures. The report said that 79 percent of primates in South and Southeast Asia, including the Hainan gibbon, are facing extinction.

Scientists list the Dama gazelle, which lives in Africa, and the Malaysian tapir as endangered hoofed animals.

The report was conducted by 1,700 experts in 130 countries over five years by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The findings cover 5,487 wild mammal species identified.

Germ Risk Makes Exotic Pets Best for Older Kids

· Kids older than 5 can have exotic animals as pets as long as they know how to handle them, according to a new report.

Those younger than 5 should not keep hamsters, baby chicks, lizards, turtles, hedgehogs or any other exotic animal because they can carry dangerous germs.

They also may be more likely to bite, scratch or claw than a dog or cat. Young children also should avoid touching these animals at petting zoos.

With supervision and training, older kids can safely keep these animals as pets.

The report was issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It said that the number of exotic pets is increasing, with about 4 million households in this country having reptiles.