16% of Nemo Species at Risk of Extinction

'These are the species we're supposed to care about,' says scientist
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2011 12:33 AM CST
16% of Nemo Species at Risk
I'm having shark fin soup tonight!   (AP Photo/Pixar Animation Studios, File)

(Newser) – You might not be able to find Nemo soon. Environmentalists warn that 16% of species associated with characters in the mega-popular Pixar animated movie Finding Nemo are at risk of extinction. “These are species that should be doing better because they are the ones we care about,” said a spokeswoman for the survey conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and a Canadian university. Especially threatened are species including turtles (like Squirt and Crush), hammerhead sharks (Anchor) and rays because "they've got life histories that cause them to interact with people wherever they go," she adds.

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Even little Nemo's species, the clownfish, is in trouble—though not yet at risk of extinction—in part because of the movie. People raced to pet shops for their own Nemo after they saw the 2003 film, triggering a significant reduction of clownfish on coral reefs. "When people see a beautiful film about tigers, they don’t go out and shoot a tiger. They don’t go out and purchase a tiger,” a marine biologist tells the Washington Post. “In the case of things in the ocean, they think, ‘I care about them, so I’d like to have them,’ or, ‘I care about them, that’s why I’d like to fish them.'" The scientists, who enjoyed multiple viewings of the movie, are publishing their findings today in Conservation Letters. Disney could not be reached for comment. (Read more extinction stories.)

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