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World's Best Contraceptive Rolled Out

In the latest sally in our all-out war on runaway population growth, which began with our highly successful Endangered Species Condom line, the Center for Biological Diversity has launched an apparel product guaranteed to reduce overbreeding: our new Endangered Species sock-and-sandal sets, the world's most powerful contraceptives.

The SASS, as we call them, work by neutralizing the sex pheromones humans traditionally emit to attract mates. Studies have shown that once the sock-and-sandal sets are donned, outgoing pheromones simply drop to the floor, where they lie limp and passive and are soon trampled. Stray incoming pheromones, which may still be emitted accidentally in a low-light setting such as a bar or restaurant, cling only briefly to the wearer of the sock-and-sandal set; their half-life is short and incoming pheromones typically cease once potential mates fully perceive the presence of the sock/sandal combo.

The sets -- made of recycled hybrid tires and 100-percent organic cotton grown in the shade by aging socialists -- were originally designed with men in mind, but are also available in unisex.

Please note: Our SASS are not effective in Europe.

In Idaho, Eight-foot Endangered Earthworms Run Amok

Rural residents of northwestern Idaho stayed indoors this week after a 15-member pack, known as a "squish," of endangered giant Palouse earthworms was spotted rampaging through a neighborhood bar. Previous accounts of the species had asserted that the earthworms grow up to three feet long, smell like lilies and spit a harmless liquid short distances, but recent reports say the newly emerged worms are eight-footers that purposefully spit flesh-corroding juices up to 12 feet and carry a faint stench of man BO.

Though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied the Center for Biological Diversity's petition to protect the giant Palouse earthworm, maintaining it was too rare to even deserve the adjective "rare," the unexpected appearance of these even more giant earthworms has forced the feds to admit to the species' inconvenient existence. Unfortunately, the feds have also said they're likely to issue an all-too-common "warranted-but-precluded" finding on the species due to its lack of being cute and the aforementioned body odor.

Eyewitnesses say the squish killed five cats and one miniature horse with their acidic projectile saliva and were last seen fighting over an 18-pack of Keystone Light.

New NRA Initiative Aims to Put Lead Back in Paint, Gasoline

In a surprising development, the NRA said this week that not only is it opposing the Center for Biological Diversity's ban on lead in hunting ammo but is also pursuing the return of lead to house paint and vehicle fuel. A spokesman said federal laws in the 1970s that banned leaded gas and lead paint were unconstitutional and an attack on the personal freedom of many gun owners.

According to spokesman Buck Gummint, Jr.: "The Constitution was not written to tell Americans what they can't do. You know I'm right on this. It was written to tell us we can do anything we want. And that includes breathing some toxic fumes. And that includes ingesting toxic materials. So if that gives liberals a little cancer or makes their babies dumb, that's just the cost of doing business. 'Cause I got news for pantywaists and you can quote me: Freedom is not free."

The NRA's new program, which was inaugurated last year with a well-funded campaign to keep lead in hunting ammunition nationwide, is rapidly expanding. Its next freedom-defending projects, Gummint told reporters, will include the repeal of child-seatbelt laws and lifting of bans on the interstate transport of thermonuclear devices.

Obama to United States, World: "Sorry, My Bad on Climate Change"

In a special address to both the nation and United Nations this Thursday, President Barack Obama finally confronted global warming head-on, with vague yet stirring rhetoric punctuated by pauses and thoughtful looks. The president apologized for his administration's utter lack of leadership on this critical issue, but stressed the need to consider all factors, all voices and all opinions, from factual to flagrantly uninformed. While scientists, Mr. Obama conceded, say rapid and large-scale action must be taken now to avoid planetary doom, the solution is clearly compromise. "We're going to find out what isn't working, and fix it. We can't rush into this."

Obama wrapped up his remarks by adding that, while the White House plans to continue its political, economic and diplomatic inaction on history's most pressing environmental problem, he has personally authorized the launch of landmark initiatives to talk about the crisis regularly, often in quite compelling terms.

Elk Herd Storms Mount Hood National Forest Office

A herd of 60 elk stormed the Mount Hood National Forest headquarters earlier this week, upending tables and chairs and breaking several doorways before devouring a platter of heart-shaped vegan cookies. "I thought at first global warming had pushed them off the mountains," said Forest Supervisor Chris Wart, "but then I realized they were headed straight for the cookies. It really burns my britches. Those cookies were meant to calm hippie activists at our road-planning open house."

The herd zigzagged through the meeting just as the hapless supervisor was explaining why building a new road across the forest would have little impact on the ungainly ungulates. Hippie activist Kale Bird, apparently agitated by the lack of heart-shaped vegan cookies, pledged to fight the road until the bitter end. The elk, a management indicator species on the forest, deposited their numerous comments on the road proposal in pellet form before hoofing it home.

Area Man Suffers Embarrassment Due to Wind Spill Mishap

A malfunction at a Nevada wind farm, which spilled more than 50 million barrels of cool breezes around the Great Basin, has resulted in an area man losing a valuable hairpiece. The man, a middle-aged sales representative known to colleagues as Jerry, was driving down a road near the wind farm in a late-model convertible when the massive wind spill occurred. He says his hairpiece -- commonly referred to as a toupee -- was lifted in its entirety from his head by errant winds whilst he was in the company of a young, female coworker.

The hairpiece was carried by spilled winds into a nearby ditch, where it encountered both a moldy pizza and a gently used diaper. It was rendered unfit for further use. The man, who plans to sue the state of Nevada and wind-farm owners for pain and suffering, claims the farm's operators are guilty of gross negligence in the matter of the accidental wind release. "If this had been an oil refinery, my dignity would be intact," he said.

Disaster first responders worked to contain the breezes using booms while spraying controversial air dispersants on presumed wind sources. When these efforts failed, responders elected instead to fly children's kites over the disaster scene in a bid to distract citizens.

No other hairpiece casualties have been reported from the spill.

Brain-controlling Fungi Turn Ants Into Mindless Zombies

You may say: Hey, but weren't they already, kind of a little bit? OK, so ants have never seemed like Mr. or Mrs. Big Personality. But as it happens, some of them are now actually falling victim to brain-eating -- or at least, mind control. Followed by brain-eating. Yes, beleaguered South American ants are being first killed, then gruesomely abused by one of four fungus species newly discovered in Brazil. These fungi each specialize in infecting a different species of carpenter ant, using currently unknown chemicals to force the insect to do the fungi's bidding -- specifically, by leaving the ant's colony and biting down on the underside of a leaf. Then the fungus kills it.

Once the ant is dead, anchored in place by its jaws' death grip on the fungus' leaf of choice, the fungus produces a long stalk that sprouts from the head of the ant's rotting carcass and shoots out spores in a quest for mind control of other passing ants. (Two of the recently discovered fungus species also send out stalks from dead ants' feet and leg joints.) As sinister as this sounds, all four fungi are actually thought to be imperiled -- endangered by hotter and drier conditions in their habitat caused by climate change.

Think this chilling tale's another April Fools' joke? Sorry, but no. If you don't believe us, get details from MSNBC and check out this BBC video.

***With all the environmental challenges we face every day, I hope you got a smile out of reading the Center's April Fools' edition of Endangered Earth Online. Please make a gift today to support our work -- the urgency of stopping the extinction crisis is no joke.***

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: socks and sandals courtesy Flickr Commons/DrJoolz; socks and sandals courtesy Flickr Commons/JonBartlett; earthworm; lead paint sign courtesy Flickr Commons/JKönig; Obama hope sticker courtesy Flickr Commons/teamstickergiant; elk courtesy Flickr Commons/davedehetre; kites and toupee; ant victim of fungus (c) L.E. Gilbert, University of Texas, Austin.

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