Stuffed-Animal Biodiversity Rising

In This Section

After Birth

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Blog Post Read By Mother To Shape Child’s Next 18 Years

PAOLI, PA—Poised to inform future parenting decisions on medical care, dietary restrictions, and everyday well-being, the blog post “Fluoride Drops For Kids—Good Idea?” which was read by local mother Laurie Miller earlier today, will reportedly shape the next 18 years of her young child’s life.

Parents Of Crying Child Must Not Be Any Good

WOODBURY, MN—Noting how the pair’s failure to promptly resolve the situation was a clear indication of their inability to raise or care for another human being, sources confirmed Friday that the parents of a crying infant must not be any good.

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Kids Teary-Eyed After Helping Dad Move Into First Apartment

BOWLING GREEN, OH—With their father marking the start of an important new phase in his life, the children of local man Barry Hunt told reporters they got a bit teary-eyed after helping the 49-year-old move into his first apartment Thursday. Teenager...

Supreme Court Gathers To Watch Baby Justices Hatch

WASHINGTON—Crowding around a small glass incubator in their personal chambers for a better vantage point, all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court reportedly gathered Tuesday to watch a brood of baby justices hatch from their eggs.

Allowance To Teach Child Importance Of Parental Dependence

MUNCIE, IN—Saying that they wanted to instill lifelong financial habits in their young son, the parents of 9-year-old Jeremy Lambert explained to reporters Monday that they give him a weekly $10 allowance to teach him the importance of parental depe...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.

The Pros And Cons Of Freezing Your Eggs

As more women choose to pursue professional, educational, or personal goals before starting a family later in life, many consider freezing their eggs as a way of prolonging their fertility.

Homeless Child Apparently Unaware He Lives In Nanny State

NEW YORK—Considering how these days the government in this country coddles its citizens from the cradle to the grave, an 11-year-old boy currently homeless on the streets of New York must be unaware he lives in a nanny state, reports confirmed this ...

The Cost Of Raising A Child

According to a new report by the USDA, the cost of raising a child until age 18 now exceeds $245,000, after which many parents will also have to foot the bill for college.

Area Mom Raving About Phoenix Airport

AURORA, IL—Noting its impressive collection of shops, restaurants, and transit options during a phone call with her daughter, local mother Carol Wingfield expressed her admiration for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the strongest terms, ...

Hands-Off Mom Lets Kids Create Own Psychological Issues

BOLTON, VT—Saying it’s important for parents to avoid simply passing their own neuroses on to their children, area mother Tricia Eakins told reporters Monday she believes in taking a hands-off approach and letting her kids develop their own ps...

Teacher Picks Wrong Student To Believe In Every Fucking Year

ROUND ROCK, TX—Frustrated at her repeated inability to steer a struggling young person in the right direction, McClintock High School English teacher Jan Broderic said Tuesday that she picks the wrong student to believe in every fucking year. Broder...

Grasshopper Dismembered By Future Supreme Court Justice

CASTLE ROCK, CO—Nearly 45 years before he is to be appointed to the Supreme Court by the 51st president of the United States, Lucas Bevins, 8, reportedly spent Thursday afternoon ripping the legs and antennae off of a grasshopper he found in his bac...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Sleep

Partying

Stuffed-Animal Biodiversity Rising

WASHINGTON, DC–According to a World Wildlife Fund study released Monday, stuffed-animal biodiversity is rapidly rising, with the number of species available in plush form up nearly 800 percent since 1990.

A rich spectrum of stuffed animal life is found under a leafy canopy in New York's FAO Schwarz.

"While the number of living species continues to plummet, the exact opposite is true of their toy counterparts," WWF director Ruth Aberg said. "This is particularly true in America, where polyester-fiber-filled replicas of even the most endangered species can be found in glorious abundance."

According to the WWF report, 885 animal species are in danger of extinction worldwide, and another 165 are classified as threatened. Of these 1,050 at-risk species, however, an estimated 970 can be found in mass quantities in children's toy boxes and on collectors' shelves.

Stuffed-animal biodiversity, Aberg said, has not always been so robust. Ten years ago, the number of species produced by toy manufacturers was "abysmally low," mainly restricted to North American wildlife and a few select jungle animals. The past decade, however, has seen a proliferation of all manner of synthetic fauna.

"There are an estimated 41,000 species of vertebrates on Earth, yet until recently, only a small handful were available for purchase–tigers, bears, lions, penguins, giraffes, and perhaps an owl or a duck," Aberg said. "Even then, only the most common species within a particular genus was represented. In the case of bears, for example, you'd have the brown bear, but rarely the polar bear and never the sun bear or sloth bear."

Today, by contrast, consumers regularly encounter river otters, hedgehogs, hammerhead sharks, warthogs, capybaras, opossums, tarantulas, and rare caimans found only in remote regions of the Amazon.

"Look at sea turtles, a species rapidly disappearing due to pollution and poaching," Aberg said. "Several years ago, EcoToys Inc. introduced Sam The Super Sea Turtle, a green turtle, or Chelonia mydas, complete with a tag describing its natural habitat and status as an endangered species. It was so well-received that the company then introduced Louie The Loggerhead, a large-headed, brownish-red turtle better known as Caretta caretta. That, in turn, was followed up with Lepidochelys kempi, a small, gray Atlantic ridley named Bo Ridley. Store shelves that were once devoid of sea turtles are now teeming with all manner of them."

Stuffed Animal Chart

The rise in stuffed-animal biodiversity, experts say, has been made possible by humans' growing interest in environmental issues: Science-themed toy stores have popped up in malls across the nation. Entire shelves of such retail giants as Toys 'R' Us are devoted to animals from around the world. Beanie Baby manufacturer Ty can barely keep up with consumer demand for plush biodiversity.

Wild Republic, a major manufacturer of stuffed animals, produces more than 100 species of animals, including Halima The Snow Leopard, Brunei The Probiscus Monkey, and Adoncia The Poison Dart Frog. Several of the company's more popular species are also available as backpacks.

"As rainforests continue to disappear at a rate of one and a half acres every second, I thought there was no hope for the leopard frog," Sierra Club associate director Dianne Wilmot said. "But Wild Republic just announced there will 5,000 more Rana pipiens in existence by Christmas. A walk through the aisles of any toy store reveals what a diverse world we used to live in."

While Wilmot is encouraged by the stuffed-animal boom, some see cause for alarm.

"The number of species is rising way too quickly," said South Bend, IN, wildlife enthusiast Wendy Elias. "I wanted to get all the animals in the Jack Hanna collection: They're so cute, and I knew I could give them a good home. But they keep introducing new ones faster than I can make shelf space. My husband will absolutely kill me if I bring another one home."

Manufacturers, however, do not regard overpopulation as a threat.

"We have a plan, should the animals on store shelves become too numerous," said Adrian Rohn, a spokesman for Wild Republic. "We will simply employ a systematic reduction of prices to encourage bargain hunters to thin the herd."

Next Story

After Birth Video