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Rosie O'Donnell under fire for posing with dead hammerhead shark caught while fishing

Rosie O'Donnell (Reuters)

Rosie O’Donnell has earned the ire of some environmental critics for a series of photos featuring the talk show host and her family posing on a boat with a variety of catches – including a dead hammerhead shark.

“Right now sharks are the most endangered animals around,” marine conservationist Erik Brush told South Florida’s Sun Sentinel. “This is basically an endorsement. It sends the message that it's an OK activity–and this is not an activity that we want celebrities endorsing.”

A picture posted on Miami-based fisherman Mark 'The Shark' Quartiano’s web site show a gleeful O’Donnell and her family posing by their kill with the caption, “This Month's Celebrity Angler.”

“(O’Donnell) wouldn't go out hunting tigers. I don't see her pictured in front of some tiger strung up,” Neil Hammerschlag, director of the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program told the Sun Sentinel. “Yet these are the tigers of the ocean, they're a top predator and they're in serious decline. Yet we kill them for sport.”

Quartiano’s web site warns, “Some photos on this fishing site may not be suitable for very small children, the faint-hearted or PETA members.”

Hammerhead sharks are considered overfished around the globe, in part due to the demand for shark fin soup. Florida banned the catch of three species of hammerhead on Jan. 1st. 

The photos of O’Donnell and her family were taken several years ago–long before the ban on hammerhead sharks, but that hasn’t stopped pundits from blasting the star on Twitter.

“DISGUSTING: Rosie Odonnell & family catch a huge beautiful hammerhead shark. What a bad mom!” wrote one detractor on Jan. 11.

O’Donnell replied, “a bad mom ? ok then -- thanks.”

Another person tweeted, “my family fishes and good friends hunt. The difference is that they don't go after species at risk. Be more selective.”

O’Donnell fired back, “we were not going after any species in particular - u catch what u catch - and it wasnt endangered til 11 days ago.”

Finally, an unrepentant O’Donnell told the Twitterverse to “chill.”

“---- we do catch and release --- some fish die as they r being reeled in ---- chill," she wrote.

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