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Last Updated: Monday February 18 2008 07:19 GMT

Hammerhead shark 'could die out'

Hammerhead shark

This amazing creature - the scalloped hammerhead shark - could be heading towards extinction, scientists say.

It's just been added to the official endangered species list after experts reported that the creatures were dying out in many parts of the world.

They say the sharks are often caught in fishermen's nets, and they're also hunted for their fins.

Shark fin soup is popular in some countries. In China, for example, many people think it's a posh thing to eat.

The threatened creature is the best-known of the hammerhead species of shark.

Tiger shark

Research suggests that numbers of the creature have dropped by 98% on the east coast of America, with declines of 90% reported elsewhere.

Serious

A total of 233 types of shark are currently under serious threat of dying out, according to official listings.

The common thresher, shortfin mako, tiger and bull sharks have recently been flagged up as struggling for survival.

'High risk'

Dr Julia Baum, who has studied the problem, said: "Right now the oceans are being emptied of sharks.

"If we carry on the way we're going, we'll be looking at a very high risk of extinction for some of these shark species in the next few decades."