Endangered Species Offered in U.S. Restaurants

,” Lieberman said. “Every bowl of soup adds up.”

Here are a five menu items to watch out for on your next date:


“Every summer, some chef somewhere comes up with the idea of serving lion tacos or lion burgers,” said zoologist Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife at Human Society International in Washington, D.C.

In the last few years, lion meat has shown up on menus from California to Kansas. And even though lion burgers often spark outrage among the public, it’s not illegal for chefs to buy, cook, or sell the meat.

For now, lions are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN — a step below endangered and two steps below critically endangered. That status hasn’t been reviewed in years, Telecky said, even though lion numbers have dropped by 50 percent in the last two or three decades. The top predators now occupy just 25 percent of their original habitat.

“If a restaurant owner wakes up one day and says, ‘I know how to boost sales,'” Telecky said, he can “legally order lion meat from any exotic meat dealer.”


Despite dramatic declines in abundance and an endangered listing on the IUCN Red List, the U.S. government decided not to protect Bluefin tuna after considering it for listing under the Endangered Species Act last year.

That means that, for now, the fish will remain on many sushi menus, where it is also called toro, hon maguro, or kuromaguro.

Bluefin tuna — which live and migrate throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans — are slow to mature, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. And fisheries often catch the fish before they’ve reproduced.

Based on an analysis by Iccat, an inter-governmental fishery organization focused on the conservation of tunas, the New York Times reported last year that numbers of bluefin old enough to reproduce dropped more than 70 percent from 1970 to the mid-90s in the western Atlantic and by 80 percent between 1970 and 1992 in the eastern Atlantic. Since then, numbers seem to have mostly stabilized.

“For bluefin tuna, the problem is overfishing,” Lieberman said. “All of that is because there’s a market for it.”


Sturgeon fish live a long time, grow slowly, and reproduce late in life. The only way to get eggs out of the fish is to kill egg-filled females, which has a reverberating effect on the species involved: Neither the eggs nor a productive female can go on living.

Eighty-five percent of sturgeon species around the world are at risk of extinction, according to

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