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INTERNATIONAL SPECIES THAT NEED US TO GET TO 350 Photo credits
Acan brain coral (Acanthastrea brevis)
Range: Indian and Indo-West Pacific
The demise of reefs would mean the extinction of a large part of the Earth’s total biodiversity — something never experienced before in human history. This species of coral is widespread but uncommon. It’s particularly susceptible to crown-of-thorns starfish predation and, as a reef-building species of coral, destruction of coral reef habitat. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, they’re already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including several species of acan brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Acan brain coral (Acanthastrea ishigakiensis)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Brain corals are found in all the world's oceans. They’re part of a class called Anthozoa or “sea flowers.” The lifespan of the largest brain corals is 200 years, and colonies can grow up to six feet or taller. Brain corals extend their tentacles to catch food at night. During the day, they use their tentacles for protection by wrapping them over the grooves on their surface, which is hard and offers good protection from fish and hurricanes. Corals are among the species most threatened by global warming. Corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including several species of acan brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Acan brain coral (Acanthastrea regularis)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The common name of this species, brain coral, is attributed to its spheroid shape and grooved surface, which resembles — of course — a brain. Each head of coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps that secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; this makes them important reef builders. Brain corals feed on small, drifting animals and also receive nutrients from the algae that live within their tissues. Warming oceans have led to increased mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including this species of brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)
Range: Antarctic coast and Antarctic islands
Although Adélie penguins live on or near sea ice during their entire lives, they need dry land to rear chicks. Adélie parents build nests out of pebbles on scarce patches of ice- and snow-free Antarctic shoreline, actively defending these refuges from pebble-pinching neighbors. Adélie penguins are declining on the Antarctic Peninsula, which is warming faster than any other place in the Southern Hemisphere. As sea ice off the western Antarctic Peninsula shrinks, so do populations of the Adélie’s food supply: krill. Warmer temperatures also allow the air to hold more moisture, which leads to more snowfall and makes it even harder for Adélies to find snow-free ground for nesting. Adélie populations have dropped by 65 percent over the past 25 years. According to a study by Antarctic researchers, 70 percent of the world’s Adélie penguins will be in jeopardy if temperatures rise by another 1.3° degrees Celsius, which is projected to occur by mid-century if we keep on our current course.
African penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
Range: southwestern coast of Africa, in colonies on 24 islands along Namibia and South Africa
The African penguin — the only penguin species that breeds in Africa — was formerly known as the “jackass penguin” because of its donkey-like braying call. Hit by chronic oil spills and commercial fisheries that deplete its food supply, African penguins have dwindled from an estimated 1.5 million birds in 1910 to less than 10 percent of that number today. Climate change is hurting the ocean realm where African penguins find food: the Benguela Current upwelling system along the southwestern African coast. Warming is thought to increase the frequency of extreme weather events in the area and reduce ocean upwelling, both of which make penguin food scarce. Climate change-caused rising sea levels and increased rainfall have also increased the flooding of penguin breeding colonies, preventing penguin parents from successfully rearing young..

The Center petitioned to protect the African penguin under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2006, and in 2008 the African penguin was proposed as an endangered species.
Agassiz's coral (Cyphastrea agassizi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and Western Central Pacific
Once found in massive colonies, Agassiz’s coral — also known as lesser knob coral — has become increasingly rare throughout its rather wide natural range. The Agassiz’s coral, like all corals, is threatened by climate change in the form of ocean acidification and warming waters. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the Agassiz’s coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba)
Range: Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica
Antarctic krill are the keystone species of the Antarctic marine ecosystem, providing an important food source for whales, seals, squid, ice fish, penguins, albatrosses, and many other species of birds. These shrimp-like invertebrates grow up to six centimeters long and live in large, dense schools.

Antarctic krill have declined by as much as 80 percent since the 1970s in the Atlantic region of the Southern Ocean, and the loss of sea ice due to global warming is a prime culprit. Krill graze on algae that grow underneath the sea ice, and young krill hide in crevices on the sea-ice bottom as a refuge from predators. So the loss of ice leads to the loss of krill. Another challenge is ocean acidification caused by increasing levels of CO2, which may make it more difficult for krill to build their exoskeletons. Researchers project that a 1-degree Celsius rise in sea-surface temperature in the Atlantic region of the Southern Ocean could result in a further 95-percent reduction of krill.
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus or Vulpes lagopus)
Range: Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, North America, Greenland, and Iceland
The Arctic fox is well adapted to survive in some of the coldest places on the planet — the Arctic tundra and Arctic sea ice. A slumbering Arctic fox in winter will wrap its long, bushy tail around its body for added warmth; the fox’s feet are covered in dense fur to insulate against the cold and provide traction on the ice. As temperatures rise, the Arctic fox’s tundra and sea-ice habitat is shrinking, its lemming prey are becoming less abundant, and it faces increased competition and displacement by the red fox, which is moving northward as temperatures warm and trees invade the tundra.

Through an aggressive litigation and lobbying campaign, the Center has fought for increased protections for Arctic species that have been hit hard by the climate crisis.
Ashy storm petrel (Oceanodroma Homochroa)
Range: Off the coast of central California south to Baja, Mexico
This small, ash-gray seabird comes and goes from its nesting burrows only at night, using the darkness as protection from would-be predators. The ashy nests on only a handful of islands off the coast of California and Baja California and has declined dramatically in numbers in recent decades. Increasing ocean temperatures, harsher El Niño events, and ocean acidification in the California Current marine ecosystem off the West Coast threaten the ecosystem’s entire food web, including the petrel’s prey. Sea-level rise threatens to drown important nesting habitat for the bird in sea caves and on offshore rocks.

The Center petitioned to list the seabird as federally endangered in 2007. In August 2009, the agency announced it would not protect the bird, despite science clearly showing its endangerment.
Aspera staghorn coral (Acropora aspera)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral resembles the antlers of a deer, and is even sometimes referred to as antler coral. But it also can be found in other shapes: bushy, clustered, bottlebrush, finger, table, columnar, or plate. It’s a small polyp stony coral, and the exact species is very difficult to identify. Corals are already dying due to global warming produced mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is harming some corals ability to build building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect several Acropora corals. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Atlantic white marlin (Tetrapturus albidus)
Range: Throughout Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Argentina and southern Europe to South Africa
While hunting, white marlin sometimes stun or kill their prey by spearing or slashing it with their sharp bills. Yet in an all-too-familiar tale for imperiled species worldwide, the hunter often becomes the hunted. The Atlantic white marlin has been reduced to less than 10 percent of its historic numbers in the Atlantic Ocean. Global warming leads to loss of biodiversity in our oceans and a reduction overall ocean productivity that may impact the marlin’s food supply.

The Center filed a lawsuit to overturn a Service decision not to afford Endangered Species Act protections to the white marlin. A new status review of the species was expected to be completed by the end of 2007 but still remains undone.
Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus)
Range: Arctic and subarctic waters, including the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas off Alaska
The bearded seal is also called the square flipper seal, but it gets its common name from its most characteristic feature — conspicuous and very abundant whiskers. It’s a primary source of food for the polar bear. Bearded seal pups enter the water only hours after they’re born, and quickly become proficient divers. Bearded seals rely on the solid platform of the sea ice for giving birth, rearing pups, and resting. The rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice threatens the bearded seal’s ability to raise its young successfully. In the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska, the early retreat of the sea ice is also leading to reduction of the bearded seal’s bottom-dwelling prey.

In May 2008, the Center filed a scientific petition requesting that this seal be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Fish and Wildlife Service must decide by November 2010 whether the bearded seal warrants protection.
Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)
Range: Primarily India and Bangladesh; also Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and southern Tibet
The Bengal tiger is a subspecies of tiger found primarily in India and Bangladesh. Current estimates suggest that there are fewer than 2,000 individuals of this particular subspecies remaining in the wild. The tiger has long awed humans with its remarkable size, great hunting ability, and beautiful coat. But Bengal tigers still face many human-caused threats, including climate change.

The last refuge for tigers in mangrove habitat is the labyrinth-like Sundarbans mangrove ecosystem of India and Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the low elevation of the Sundarbans mangroves makes them vulnerable to increasing sea-level rise and stronger typhoons associated with climate change. Even modest levels of sea-level rise are expected to destroy and fragment the Sundarbans, jeopardizing one of the last strongholds for the tiger.
Black flying fox (Pteropus alecto)
Range: Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia
One of the largest bat species in the world, with a wingspan of more than one meter, black flying foxes have been known to travel up to 50 kilometers a night in search of food. A young black flying fox is carried by its mother for the first month of life, and left behind in the roost when the mother is out foraging at night. During the day, individuals reside in roosts, which can house of hundreds to tens of thousands of individuals. The black flying fox faces several threats, including loss of foraging and roosting habitat and mass die-offs caused by extreme temperature events, which are projected to increase with global warming.

Black-breasted puffleg(Eriocnemis nigrivestis)
Range: Northwestern slopes of Ecuador’s Pichincha volcano, an area less than 34 square kilometers
Found nowhere outside Ecuador, the black-breasted puffleg is a small to average-sized hummingbird with distinctive white leg plumage. This little bird prefers high altitudes, spending the rainy season above 10,000 feet and the rest of the year — when certain preferred plants flower — residing between 9,006 and 10,000 feet. Its population is estimated to have declined by 50 to 79 percent in the past 10 years and now consists of fewer than 250 individuals. High-elevation tropical mountain forests are shifting upslope due to climate change. Tropical bird species like the puffleg are sensitive to microclimate conditions and will move up mountains in response to warming temperatures. Eventually, they’ll risk running out of room.

In response to a series of Center lawsuits against the Fish and Wildlife Service for delaying protection of the puffleg, which was petitioned for listing in 1980 and 1991, the Service in January 2009 finally proposed to list the black breasted puffleg as endangered.
Black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla)
Range: Oklahoma south through Edwards Plateau and Big Bend National Park, Texas, to central Coahuila, Mexico
The small black-capped vireo has been listed as an endangered species in the United States since 1987. Males generally court females with displays and calls. The male songbird cares for some or all of the fledglings, while the female may nest again — sometimes with another male. These birds are insectivorous, relying on a diet made up largely of beetles and caterpillars. Among the threats facing the black-capped vireo: parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds, loss of habitat, and now global warming. Warmer and drier conditions in the Southwest could further reduce habitat for this species, especially if suitable conditions shift out of existing refuges.
Black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes)
Range: Breed on Pacific Ocean islands, mainly Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; forage in North Pacific Ocean
This large, long-winged seabird makes epic journeys across the North Pacific, sometimes exceeding 9,000 kilometers per trip, to gather squid and fish to feed its chick. While at sea, thousands of black-footed albatrosses are drowned every year in U.S. and international longline and gillnet fisheries. Because most of the world’s black-footed albatrosses nest on the low-lying islands of the Northwest ern Hawaiian Island chain, sea-level rise and higher storm surge due to climate change threaten to drown nests.

The Center and other groups petitioned to protect this species under the Endangered Species Act in 2004, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now deciding whether to protect this species.
Blue spiny lizard (Sceloporus serrifer)
Range: Mexico
The spiny lizards in the genus Sceloporus include some of the most well-known lizards in North and Central America, such as the familiar western fence lizard. However, rising temperatures from climate change are causing these lizards to disappear at an alarming rate. Spiny lizards need to bask in the sun to warm up, but if conditions get too hot, they’re forced to retreat into the shade instead of spending time searching for food. Lizards that can’t get enough to eat don’t have enough energy to lay eggs or give birth, putting populations at risk of extinction. In Mexico, scientists found that spiny lizards went extinct at 12 percent of the sites where they had been present in the 1970s to 1990s, and these extinctions tended to occur where temperatures had increased the most during their breeding seasons. If climate change continues unabated, scientists predict, 58 percent of spiny lizard species in Mexico will go extinct by 2080, including all those native to high elevations.
Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis)
Range: From Stepovak Bay, Alaska to central Baja California; most abundant from Oregon to northern Baja California
The Bocaccio is a member of the rockfish family. One of the larger rockfish, it can grow up to three feet in length and live for 45 years. For the bocaccio and other rockfish, big, fat, and old females are the most important females, since they produce the largest numbers of eggs and the highest quality eggs, which have a better chance of surviving to become the next generation. Never-before-observed low-oxygen and no-oxygen “dead zones” linked with global warming have been forming in the California Current marine ecosystem, causing massive die-offs of rockfish and other oxygen-starved marine creatures.

In 2001, the Center and allies petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the population of bocaccio south of Cape Mendocino as threatened, as well as to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.
Boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas)
Range: North-central California, east through Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and north to southern Alaska
Boreal toads use holes dug by other animals for burrowing, and they can spend half of their lives hibernating. To find their way, like other toads, they use the stars and their sense of smell. Water pollution, habitat loss, and chytrid fungus have already resulted in the boreal toad disappearing from much its range. Because the toad only lives at high elevations — for example, above 8,500 feet in Colorado — global warming’s rising temperatures add yet another threat to the species. With rising temperatures, suitable habitat for the toad is pushed to even higher elevations, and habitat patches become more isolated, giving the toad fewer places to call home. In Yellowstone National Park, increased warming, reduced annual rainfall, and increasing drought conditions have already dried up pond habitat for the boreal toad and other amphibians.
Boto (Inia geoffrensis)
Range: Lakes and rivers of northern and central South America, particularly the Amazon and its tributaries
The boto, otherwise known as the Amazon River dolphin, is a freshwater species found throughout northern and central South America. As the boto matures, it changes in color from dark grey to pink and eventually to white. The boto’s unusual appearance, in addition to its ability to turn its head 180 degrees, has made it a mythological figure of great importance to native peoples. The boto may also be quite intelligent, with a brain 40 percent larger than a human’s.

Cetaceans with restricted ranges, like the boto, are thought to be particularly vulnerable to rising water temperatures. As river temperatures warm due to global warming, the boto may be unable to shift its range according to temperature conditions.
Branching hammer coral (Euphyllia paraancora)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
So named because of the hammer-shaped ends of its tentacles, the branching hammer coral is a large and relatively hardy coral. The branching hammer, like all Euphyllia corals, is home to a specific kind of commensal shrimp that only frequents that particular coral. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the branching hammer coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Broad-headed snake (Hoplocephalus bungaroides)
Range: Sydney Basin, New South Wales, Australia
The venomous broad-headed snake, which can reach nearly three feet in length, was once common throughout its range. Now urban development and rock removal have driven this snake from all but a fraction of that historic range. Under current, worst-case climate change predictions, the species faces additional habitat loss and disrupted breeding seasons, and with already dwindling populations, it’s highly unlikely that the broad-headed snake would successfully adapt to and recover from such change and disruption.
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus)
Range: Canada, Alaska, Selkirk Mountains of northeastern Washington and northern Idaho
Caribou are the only deer (other than reindeer) whose females have antlers. Today, many caribou herds are in decline, and global warming is believed to be one cause. Migratory caribou seasonally move along traditional pathways to reach areas with the most plentiful food and the fewest predators and insects. As plant growth shifts earlier due to climate change, fewer caribou calves survive because their mothers have been unable to adjust the calving season to match changes in plant growth timing, and the animals aren’t getting enough to eat. As temperatures warm, parasites and predators may increase in the northern regions where caribou migrate to take refuge.

Thanks to a 2009 lawsuit by Center and allies, the Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to consider habitat protections for the woodland caribou, the only caribou remaining in the lower 48 states. A Center suit also spurred a court decision banning snowmobiles from 470 square miles of essential woodland caribou habitat.
Cassin’s auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus)
Range: Pacific Ocean and West Coast from Alaska to Mexico
Underwater, the Cassin's auklet is an agile diver, propelling itself to depths of up to 80 meters with its wings to feed on krill — small, shrimp-like crustaceans. While flying, this small, chunky seabird is a little less graceful, resembling a mini-football with rapidly whirring wings. Cassin’s auklets nests in deep burrows on offshore islands without predators from Alaska to Mexico. Increasing ocean temperatures, harsher El Niño events, and ocean acidification in the California Current marine ecosystem off the West Coast threaten the ecosystem’s entire food web, including the prey of the Cassin’s auklet. The world’s largest breeding populations in British Columbia and the largest California population have been rapidly declining in recent decades, including years of unprecedented complete breeding failure when chicks starved en masse. This failure has been linked to changes in ocean climate conditions.
Castle coral (Pachyseris rugosa)
Range: Oceans worldwide
We blush to say what this coral species resembles; suffice it to say that its colonies consist of upright irregular, usually contorted, bifacial plates. It is typically bluish-grey or brown. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 parts per million (ppm) or below to protect corals – and if we reach levels of 560 ppm or above, all corals are predicted to dissolve. The impacts of global warming on corals include frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Greenhouse gas caused ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to protect 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora danae)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This yellow and pink branching coral bears a resemblance to a certain cruciferous vegetable. Sea urchins graze on cauliflower coral, and overfishing of sea urchin predators such as lobster has thrown this link in the aquatic food chain out of balance, much to the coral’s detriment. Ocean acidification caused by the ocean’s absorption of atmospheric CO2 is hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. When ocean temperatures increase, coral eject the algae that live in their tissues, a process known as “bleaching.” Bleaching has led to widespread coral disease and death. Even at current CO2 levels, most reefs have entered an irreversible decline, the impact of which will be catastrophic.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora elegans)
Range: East Pacific and Indo-West Pacific
Brown-green, pink and cream-colored colonies of this cauliflower coral species clump together and thrive in shallow reef environments. They tend to spawn during the few days surrounding the new moon. Like other cauliflower corals, Pocillopora elegans is adversely affected by overfishing of sea urchin predators. All corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million, making corals among the species most threatened by global warming – especially alarming considering that coral reefs provide habitat for somewhere between a quarter and a third of all marine life. When ocean temperatures increase, corals can lose the algae in their tissues, a process known as “bleaching.” Corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to disease and death, and even at CO2 levels, most reefs have entered an irreversible decline.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Pocillopora corals, including this one.
Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
Range: Monterey Bay, California to Chukchi Sea, Alaska
The chinook salmon is the largest member of the salmon family, reaching nearly five feet in length. This fish is highly valued as both a game and commercial fish, particularly since it’s scarce compared to other Pacific salmon. The chinook is imperiled by threats to both ocean water and freshwater, as it lives in both habitats at different stages in its lifecycle.

Rising temperatures and changing river flows threaten cold water-loving chinook salmon in several ways. Warmer river and stream temperatures put these fish under higher metabolic stress, increase their susceptibility to parasites and disease, and can cause eggs to hatch earlier in the year, so the young are smaller and more vulnerable to predators. High levels of winter flooding can wash away salmon eggs in streambeds, while earlier melting of snow leaves rivers and streams warmer and shallower in the summer and fall. One study found that up to 40 percent of chinook salmon in the Snohomish River basin in western Washington state may be lost by 2050.
Chiricahua leopard frog (Rana chiricahuensis)
Range: Desert and mountain streams and wetlands in central and southeast Arizona, southwest New Mexico, and northern Mexico
Leopard frogs are often used as environmental indicator species because of their heightened sensitivity to chemical pollutants found in the air and water. When a Chiricahua leopard frog wants attention, it snores — at least, its distinctive call sounds like a snore. But the sound of snoring around desert streams, springs, and even stock tanks is a lot softer than it used to be. Once found in more than 400 aquatic sites in the Southwest, this frog is now found at fewer than 80. In Arizona, the Chiricahua has declined more than any other leopard frog. Chiricahua leopard frogs need permanent water for reproduction, but that’s increasingly hard to come by. Southwest riparian areas are often destroyed by livestock grazing, groundwater pumping, water diversion, and dams, and now they face the additional threat of global warming drying their habitat.

The Center submitted a petition to list the species as federally endangered in 1998, and after two Center lawsuits, the frog was finally listed as threatened in 2002.
Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)
Range: Coastal waters along Northern Pacific Rim, from Tillamook Bay, Oregon extending north and west to northern Japan
Chum salmon, also sometimes referred to as “dog salmon,” are second only to chinook salmon in size and were historically perhaps the most abundant of all salmon. Breeding males develop pronounced canine-like teeth — hence the “dog” moniker — and a bold tricolor pattern on the body. Chum salmon have long been popular as both sport and food fish, but they’re now dangerously close to extinction, with several subpopulations believed to be extirpated and more robust populations declining each year.

Rising temperatures and changing river flows threaten cold water-loving chum salmon in several ways. Warmer river and stream temperatures put the fish under higher metabolic stress and increase their susceptibility to parasites and disease. Earlier melting of snow leaves rivers and streams warmer and shallower in the summer and fall, while high levels of winter flooding can wash away salmon eggs in the streambed.
Collared pika (Ochotona collaris)
Range: Mountainous regions of western North America
The collared pika is closely related to the American pika, and like its relative, it lives in high-elevation alpine boulder fields. The collared pika spends a large part of its time in the summer collecting grasses and flowers that it stores in haypiles under boulders as its food supply during winter. It makes thousands of trips during July and August to collect food for winter.

Because collared pikas don’t hibernate but remain active under snow-topped boulder fields during the winter, they rely on the protective snowpack to provide insulation during the coldest winter spells. Climate change-related reductions in snowpack threaten this species. A collapse in pika populations in Canada’s Yukon was linked to warmer winters and less winter snowpack, which exposed pikas to cold extremes, and to late winter snowfall, which delayed the start of the growing season for the pika’s plant food.
Colombian woolly monkey (Lagothrix lugens)
Range: Columbia and possibly Venezuela
Colombian woolly monkeys greet each other by kissing each other on the mouth and embracing. These critically endangered monkeys live in groups of 10 to 45 individuals, which peacefully share their territory with other troops. They are arboreal and use their powerful, prehensile tails to suspend their large bodies from branches (and sometimes as an extra hand). Woolly monkey infants, nursed by their mothers for as many as 20 months, can cling to their mother's fur immediately after birth. When they’ve matured, young female monkeys leave home to join a male in another troop, while young males stay in their birthplace.

Researchers have found that woolly monkey populations decline one year after El Niño events, which affect food availability for these fruit-eaters. Researchers have warned that the intensification of El Niño events due to climate change may further endanger this vulnerable primate.
Cozumel curassow (Crax rubra griscomi)
Range: Cozumel Island, Mexico
A large, black bird with a spectacular crest, the Cozumel curassow is found in only one place in the world: the small, tropical island of Cozumel off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Numbering only a few hundred, this subspecies is threatened by predation from introduced boa constrictors and feral dogs, human hunting, forest habitat destruction — and now climate change, which is increasing hurricane risk. Over the past few decades, the frequency of North Atlantic storms and the intensity of the strongest hurricanes have risen in step with warming sea-surface temperatures. Because hurricanes bring the destruction of Cozumel’s forests, a trend toward increasing hurricane activity would significantly increase the curassow’s chances of going extinct.
Cup Coral (Turbinaria mesenterina)
Range: Oceans worldwide
This coral, which actually more closely resembles a bowl than a cup, may be the dominant coral species in shallow turbid waters but is also targeted for the aquarium trade. Colonies are usually less than three feet across but may be much larger on fringing reefs. Corals like this cup coral are among the planet’s species most threatened by rising temperatures, which has lead to frequent mass bleaching events, widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Additionally, ocean acidification caused by increased CO2 absorption by our seas is also hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Cup Coral (Turbinaria peltata)
Range: Oceans worldwide
This striking cup coral is often made of overlapping tiers that may be several meters across. Its tentacles are usually extended during the day. It is usually found in more protected areas, especially shallow rocky areas with turbid water and shallow reef slopes. Due to warming oceans, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve if we reach 560 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this gem.
Eastern moose (Alces alces americana)
Range: From Maine and Nova Scotia west through Quebec and central Ontario, and from Hudson Bay south to the Great Lakes
The name moose is derived from the Algonquian Eastern Abnaki word moz, which loosely translates to “twig eater.” The animal called “moose” in North America and “common elk” in Europe is the largest extant species in the deer family. An adult moose can be as tall as seven feet at the shoulder, and males weigh between 850 and 1,580 pounds. Moose are distinguished by the males’ palmate antlers — in which the lobes radiate from a common area. Other members of the deer family have antlers with a twig-like configuration.

Warming temperatures have contributed to an explosion of white-tailed deer population in some areas, which carry a parasitic worm that’s devastating to moose. Global warming is also allowing dog ticks to expand northward in Maine, which hurts moose in the Northeast. Finally, hot weather causes moose to rest more and forage less — and moose depend on summer foraging to survive the winters.
Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmate)
Range: Florida Keys, Bahamas, and Caribbean islands
Named for its many large branches resembling vibrantly colored elk antlers, elkhorn coral is one of the two coral species (along with staghorn coral) first protected under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Increased water temperatures cause coral mortality and bleaching — a process in which stressed corals expel the algae that give them color. Meanwhile, ocean acidification depletes seawater of compounds that corals need to build their skeletons.

Thanks to a scientific petition the Center submitted, elkhorn and staghorn corals gained federal legal protection in 2006, becoming the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act because of vulnerability to global warming.
Elliptical star coral (Dichocoenia stokesii)
Range: Caribbean
Often found in small, spherical forms, elliptical star coral is easily identified by its oval-shaped corallites, which conspicuously protrude above the surface. In deeper waters the corallites take on a more circular appearance. Elliptical star coral is most often a distinctive orange-brown color, and very infrequently green. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the elliptical star coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)
Range: Coastal Antarctica
The emperor is the only penguin species that breeds during the Antarctic winter, laying eggs and rearing chicks on top of sea ice. The emperor migrates up to 75 miles every mating season, a journey made famous in the documentary March of the Penguins. Warming ocean temperatures and melting sea ice around Antarctica have diminished the emperor’s foods supply of krill, and when sea ice breaks up before the chicks have grown waterproof feathers, they’re often swept into the ocean to die. The March of the Penguins emperor colony has declined by more than half, and scientists predict climate change will push the colony to the brink of extinction this century. Another study concluded that 40 percent of the world’s emperors will be in jeopardy from a further temperature rise of 1.3 degrees Celsius, which the world will exceed before mid-century on our current course.

The Center petitioned to protect 12 of the most imperiled penguin species, but the emperor was denied protection.
Erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri)
Range: Breeds only on New Zealand’s Bounty and Antipodes island systems
More than half of the world’s 19 penguin species are in danger of extinction, since krill, the keystone of the Antarctic marine food chain, has declined by as much 80 percent since the 1970s over large areas of the Southern Ocean. The chief culprit: global warming. The erect-crested penguin, a penguin from New Zealand that breeds on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands, is one of the most imperiled penguins.

The Center filed a scientific petition to gain Endangered Species Act protection for 12 at-risk penguin species, including the erect-crested. In December 2008, the Service proposed protection for seven species — the erect-crested among them.
False flower coral (Anacropora puertogalerae)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Corals have amazing adaptation abilities, but this particular shallow reef species is considered extremely fragile. It has a low resistance to bleaching and disease and is slow to recover from both. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this delicate species.
False flower coral (Barabattoia laddi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Tens of millions of people depend on reef ecosystems, and despite degradation of so many reefs, human dependence on reefs is increasing. The values of goods and services provided by reefs have not been accurately determined, but estimates range from $172 billion to $375 billion per year. Barabattoia laddi has been recorded in shallow lagoons, foreslope, back slope, and reef flats, and is found in depths of at least 10 meters. A key identifying feature are its tubular clusters. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens)
Range: Rare but widespread; sited in Mediterranean, Red Sea, Atlantic, Pacific, Indian oceans
Even though it resembles the orca and can attack and kill other cetaceans, the false killer whale is actually one of the larger members of the oceanic dolphin family, living in tropical waters throughout the world. False killer whales can grow as long as 16 feet and weigh over one ton. A recent study found that the population of false killer whales in waters close to Hawaii appears to have dramatically declined over the past 20 years, likely a result of declining food supplies and longline fishing lines that stretch as many as 50 miles from some commercial fishing vessels and catch and kill them. False killer whales are at risk from ocean acidification, a result of CO2 emissions that threatens the entire ocean food web.

The Center and allies sued for false killer whales in Hawaii waters in 2009, challenging the National Marine Fisheries Service for its failure to devise a plan to protect the mammals from Hawaii’s longline fishery.
Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
Range: Oceans worldwide
The fin whale swims all the major oceans, from polar to tropical waters. Despite its enormity – it’s the second largest whale and the planet’s second largest animal after the blue whale – it’s among the fastest cetaceans and can sustain speeds of 23 miles per hour. Like other large whales, the fin whale was heavily hunted: Almost 750,000 fin whales from the southern hemisphere alone were killed between 1904 and 1979, and fewer than 3,000 currently remain.

The fin whale feeds on krill, consuming up to 4,000 pounds in a day. But krill is declining, and one possible cause is loss of sea ice due to climate change. Krill graze on algae that grow on the underside of the ice, and young krill rely on caves and crevices in the ice as refuge from predators. Increased carbon dioxide absorption by our oceans presents another grave threat to krill: ocean acidification, which alters the chemistry of sea water to make it more difficult for krill to form protective exoskeletons.
Fiordland crested penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)
Range: West and south coasts of New Zealand’s South Island, on Stewart Island, and on several adjacent offshore islands
The Fiordland crested penguin, also known as “tawaki” in the Maori language, nests in colonies in dense temperate forest in New Zealand. Current population estimates range between 2,500 and 3,000 breeding pairs. Since the late 1980s, the bird is estimated to have declined by around 33 percent. In addition to threats posed by fisheries and introduced predators — including dogs, cats and rats — warming ocean conditions and ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean threaten this penguin’s food supply.

The Center filed a scientific petition in 2006 to gain Endangered Species Act protection for 12 of the most imperiled penguin species. In December 2008, the Service proposed protection for seven species — the Fiordland crested among them.
Flowerpot coral (Alveopora allingi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
As its common name suggests, flowerpot coral resembles a bouquet of flowers. Overexploited by the aquarium trade and rapidly losing habitat, this coral is found in American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and other areas of the Pacific. Flowerpot coral has the highest bleaching response of any coral genus, making it extremely vulnerable to warming. Corals are among the species most threatened by global warming. Corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including flowerpot coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Fringed myotis (Myotis thysanodes)
Range: Texas’ Trans-Pecos region in summer
The fringed myotis is a species of vesper bat found in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. It occurs in a variety of habitats including desert-scrub, fir-pine, and oak and pinyon woodlands. It may roost in caves, mines, or buildings. Fringed bats are known to migrate, but little is known about their migration patterns.
Bats that inhabit arid regions, like the fringed myotis, are vulnerable to climate change because they need sufficient standing water for drinking. Standing water sources in arid areas are particularly important for nursing females, which need to drink much more than other bats to produce milk. One study concluded that predicted loss of water resources in the western United States due to climate change would lead to declines in regional bat populations, particularly by hurting bat reproduction.
Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)
Range: Galapagos Islands
Found only at the Galapagos Islands, the Galapagos penguin is the only penguin to live on the equator and venture into the Northern Hemisphere, making it the northernmost-living penguin species. It’s also the rarest penguin, with an estimated population size of around 1,500 individuals in 2004. The Galápagos penguin mates for life and may breed as many as three times a year, deciding when to breed not by season but rather according to food availability.

Scientists have already observed the impacts of rising ocean temperatures on these unique penguins during El Niño events, which usher in warm waters, resulting in dwindling food supplies. During the powerful El Niño events of 1982–1983 and 1997–1998, hungry penguin parents were forced to abandon their eggs and chicks to search for food, and many chicks starved to death. After these events, Galápagos penguin numbers fell by an alarming 77 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
Geoffrey's spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)
Range: Central America
The Geoffrey’s spider monkey is one of the largest New World monkeys, as well as one of the smartest. A 2007 study concluded that spider monkeys were the third-most intelligent nonhuman primate, behind only orangutans and chimpanzees. One example: the Geoffrey’s spider monkey has been seen rubbing a mixture of saliva and ground lime-tree leaves on its fur, which is believed to act as an insect repellent. Each spider monkey makes a unique sound; this helps the monkeys recognize each other, call other group members to food, maintain vocal contact with their group while traveling, and distinguish between group members and nongroup members. These monkeys also use nonvocal communication: A curled tail or arched back may be a threat display, while a head shake is either a threat or an invitation to play; shaking branches or swaying arms is a warning of danger. Habitat loss, hunting, and the pet trade have led the Geoffrey’s spider monkey to be declared endangered.

Researchers have found that Geoffrey’s spider monkey populations decline one year after El Niño events, which affect food availability for these fruit-eaters. Researchers have warned that the intensification of El Niño events due to climate change may further imperil this already endangered primate.
Golden bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana)
Range: Highlands of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia
The male golden bowerbird looks every bit as sunny and gleaming as his name implies – but he’s more than just a pretty face. To attract female bowerbirds, males build elaborate bowers – stick-based structures many times the birds’ size – and festoon them with brightly colored objects such as shells, flowers, feathers, and berries. Males prize rare and unusual objects and guard their bowers carefully to prevent competing males from stealing their prized ornaments – and for good reason. Female golden bowerbirds invariably choose males with well-appointed bowers to mate with.

The golden bowerbird prefers the cool mountains of Australia’s Wet Tropics. Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall would push this bird’s suitable habitat to higher altitudes, forcing it to move upwards. With 3 degrees Celsius of future warming and a 10-percent decline in rainfall, the bowerbird would likely lose 98 percent of its habitat and be left with just two mountaintops. With even more severe warming, its habitat would likely vanish entirely.
Golden-shouldered parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius)
Range: Cape York Peninsula, Queensland
The golden-shouldered parrot is one of three Psephotus species that nest in termite mounds in northern Australia. Tragically, one of those species is already extinct. After breeding, the golden-shouldered parrot disperses through open woodland, feeding on fire grass seeds until after the first rains, when it switches foods continually. The adult male is mainly blue with a characteristic yellow over the shoulder area, from which this parrot takes its name. Because it rarely uses the same termite mound for breeding more than once and new termite mounds are very slow to build up, nest-site availability is already a limiting factor in the species’ survival.

Increasing temperatures, fires, and droughts in northern Australia’s savanna heighten that threat; meanwhile, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere favors trees and shrubs, resulting in large-scale loss of the parrot’s grassland habitat.
Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus)
Range: Shallow coastal waters of eastern North Pacific
The eastern North Pacific gray whale is believed to make the longest yearly migration of any mammal, traveling in two to three months an amazing 16,000 to 22,000 kilometers at an average speed of only five kilometers per hour. During the summer, gray whales bulk up in the arctic waters off Alaska, scooping up gigantic mouthfuls of mud from the ocean bottom and filtering out bottom-dwelling critters. Come fall, they make the epic journey to the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja California to give birth and nurse their young.

In recent years, increasing numbers of malnourished gray whales have been observed all along their migratory route, and scientists believe that ocean warming may be decreasing their food supply. The rapid loss of arctic sea ice appears to be lowering the abundance of bottom-dwelling prey for gray whales in traditional foraging grounds off Alaska. Gray whales are also beginning their southbound migration later, which means they spend less time in calving lagoons nursing their young.
Gray-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
Range: Australia
Gray-headed flying foxes may return to the same roost over several decades and some sites may even pre-date human settlement in Australia, where this fruit bat resides. It’s very long-lived for a mammal of its size, with reports of individuals surviving in captivity for up to 23 years. The gray-headed flying fox is the only mammalian pollenivore, nectarivore, and frugivore to occupy substantial areas of subtropical rainforests, so it’s of key importance to those forests. This fruit bat was once abundant, with numbers in the many millions, but it declined by 30 percent between 1989 and 2001 and now numbers fewer than 400,000. Among the threats to this bat: mass die-offs caused by extreme temperature events when bats fall from the trees due to heat stress. Researchers found that more than 24,500 gray-headed flying foxes have died from extreme heat events since 1994. This is of increasing concern for the species’ survival now that climate models predict significant increases in the intensity, duration, and frequency of such temperature extremes.
Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Range: Worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical waters
The green sea turtle is one of the oldest sea turtles studied; in fact, much knowledge about sea turtle ecology comes from studies of this species. Green sea turtles’ common name derives from the green fat underneath their shells. Like other sea turtles, over their average lifespan of 80 years, they migrate long distances between feeding grounds and hatching beaches. Sea turtles spend almost all their lives submerged but must breathe air, routinely diving for about five minutes and surfacing to breathe for one to three seconds. They can sleep underwater for several hours, but their ability to hold their breath is affected by activity and stress, which is why turtles drown in fishing gear within a relatively short time. Global warming threatens the green sea turtle in several ways: Rising sea levels may inundate nesting beaches; increased sand temperatures can lead to changes in the sex ratio of hatchling turtles; warming ocean temperatures are leading to mass coral bleaching, damaging reef habitats where turtles feed; and changes in ocean currents can alter turtle migrations paths and feeding patterns.

The Center takes to court to defend the green sea turtle and other sea turtle species from longline fishing through our Fisheries Campaign.
North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)
Range: From the Bering Sea to Ensenada, Mexico; in estuaries and bays from British Columbia, to Monterey Bay; in river mouths from the Skeena River to the Sacramento River
Reaching up to seven feet long and weighing up to 350 pounds, the ancient but imperiled green sturgeon has survived unchanged for the past 200 million years. This bottom-dwelling fish spends much of its adult life in bays and estuaries, returning to only three rivers to spawn — Oregon’s Rogue River and the Klamath and Sacramento rivers in California. Threats to the green sturgeon include water withdrawals from rivers, dams blocking access to spawning habitat, overfishing, poaching for caviar, and now global warming. Because green sturgeon need good water quality and specific temperatures to spawn and hatch their eggs, rising river temperatures and changes in river flows threaten their ability to reproduce. As precipitation shifts from snowpack (which melts gradually) to rainfall, the salinity of estuaries is predicted to change, increasing stress on the sturgeon.

Thanks to the Center, the southern green sturgeon was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2006; federal protections for habitat were proposed in 2008.
Gray-headed robin (Heteromyias cinereifrons)
Range: Highlands of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia
The gray-headed robin lacks the bright reds, yellows, and pinks that other Australian robin species display – but its tortoiseshell coloring makes it easy for this songbird to skim, hop, and flit across the ground undetected by both predators and prey as it hunts insects and larvae. More often heard than seen, the bird’s high “whi…whi…whi…whi” call is a familiar sound in the high-altitude rainforests of the Wet Tropics.

Like many other birds found only in the mountains of Australia’s Wet Tropics, the gray-headed robin’s habitat may completely vanish with projected rises in temperatures and declines in rainfall.
Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
Range: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, possibly southern Colorado, and western Canada
Traditional Blackfeet Indians believed the grizzly bear to be our closest animal relative. Yet today, grizzlies occupy less than 2 percent of their original range due to a mass kill-off of the bears both for profit and from fear. While the bears are mostly protected in the lower 48 states, they’re still hunted in Alaska and parts of Canada. Grizzlies now face the additional threat of global warming, which imperils one of the Yellowstone grizzly population’s key food sources: whitebark pine nuts. Studies show that bears that eat lots of whitebark pine nuts before hibernating survive better and have more cubs. However, rising temperatures are shrinking the range of whitebark pine and may make it more susceptible to mountain pine beetle attacks.

In 2007, the Yellowstone bear population was removed from the endangered species list. The Center filed suit with six other conservation organizations. In response to another case, in 2009 the court restored protections for Yellowstone grizzlies, citing in part the decline in their food sources due to global warming.
Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica)
Range: North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from northern Russia, to Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada
The harp seal’s primary predators are humans, who have hunted them for fur, oil, and meat for more than 4,000 years, and more recently to stop the seals from competing for food with commercial fisheries. Harp seals rely on the presence of stable sea-ice floes during specific times of the year, and the melting and thinning of sea ice threatens their survival. Harp seals need stable ice floes during spring to give birth and nurse their pups. In years when sea ice breaks up during the nursing period, scientists have documented high pup mortality. Weaned pups need to rest on stable sea ice for several weeks before they enter the icy waters to learn how to hunt for themselves, and the melting of sea ice during this crucial period jeopardizes pup survival. Further, adults need ice floes for courtship and molting, when they replace their old fur coat with a new one.
Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Range: Tropical reefs of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans
The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle is the only species in its genus. Its distinguishing feature: the sharp, curving, beak-like mouth from which it gets its common name. Its chosen prey includes sea sponges, which are highly toxic and can be lethal when eaten by other creatures — but not for the hawksbill. Human fishing practices and the use of hawskbill shells for tortoiseshell trinkets have resulted in the hawksbill facing the possibility of extinction. Global warming threatens the hawksbill in several ways: Rising sea levels may inundate nesting beaches; increased sand temperatures can lead to changes in the sex ratio of hatchling turtles; warming ocean temperatures are leading to mass coral bleaching, damaging reef habitats where turtles feed; and changes in ocean current can alter turtle migrations paths and feeding patterns.

The Center works hard to stop longline fishing practices that ensnare the hawksbill and other sea turtles.
Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhychus hectori)
Range: New Zealand coastal waters
The Hector’s dolphin is one of the smallest and rarest cetaceans in the world. Endemic to New Zealand, Hector’s dolphins can be divided up into four genetically distinct subpopulations, with the Maui subset having around 100 remaining individuals. The greatest threats to Hector’s dolphin are commercial fisheries and boat disturbances, though climate change poses an ever-increasing danger.

Coastal cetacean species with small populations and restricted ranges, like the Hector’s dolphin, are thought to be quite vulnerable to climate change. Warming ocean waters and changing currents are likely to affect food availability in these animals’ ranges, leading to potential repercussions for breeding success and increased susceptibility to disease and contaminants.
Helmeted honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix)
Range: Areas near Melbourne, Victoria in Australia
With its vivid yellow hood of feathers and preference for dining on sweet nectar, it’s easy to imagine how the helmeted honeyeater got its name. Preventing this subspecies of yellow-tufted honeyeater from disappearing forever, on the other hand, is proving much harder. It’s endemic to the Australian state of Victoria, which also claims this songbird as its state bird emblem. As recently as 1990, however, Victoria came close to needing a new bird emblem when the helmeted honeyeater population reached a record low of 50 individuals. Since then, thanks to a captive breeding program and stepped-up conservation efforts, helmeted honeyeater numbers have climbed to an estimated 150 individuals in 2009.

The helmeted honeyeater is vulnerable to projected increases in droughts and fires that will damage its habitat. As its home is degraded, the few remaining honeyeaters may also face increased competition with the more aggressive bell miner.
Hemprich’s brain coral (Acanthastrea hemprichii)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This species of brain coral is named for German explorer and naturalist Wilhelm Hemprich, one of the first naturalists to study the Red Sea. Hemprich’s brain coral is mottled brown and green. It’s widespread and uncommon throughout its range. There’s no species-specific population information available for this species, but there is evidence that overall coral reef habitat has declined, and this is used as a proxy for population decline. Warming ocean temperatures have already resulted in frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including Hemrich’s brain coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Henderson’s checkermallow (Sidalcea hendersonii)
Range: Oregon, Washington, Canada, Alaska
This tall perennial puts on a beautiful show all summer with its spike of purple to pink blooms. But how much longer that show will go on in the wild is unclear. While this species was historically found in at least 10 sites in Oregon, it currently occurs naturally only on Cox Island, and there are believed to be fewer than 100 total populations.

Because Henderson’s checkermallow exists on or adjacent to tidelands, it’s particularly vulnerable to the sea-level rise anticipated to accelerate with global warming.
Hooded dotterel (Thinornis rubricollis rubricollis)
Range: Coastal Jervis Bay, New South Wales to Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Hooded dotterels are most often seen in pairs or small groups, darting, bobbing, and pecking along the shoreline. A medium-sized sandy-brown plover, it’s distinguishable by its black head and white nape, with a red eye-ring and pink legs. Like other plovers, the dotterel nests by excavating a shallow scrape in sand above the high-tide mark on ocean beaches or dunes, sometimes lined with pebbles, seaweed, and other beach debris. Typically, one or two eggs hatch after about 30 days of incubation, and the downy young leave the nest within a day or two. But rising sea levels will have a devastating impact on this critically endangered species, flooding the sandy beaches that support the dotterel’s nesting and feeding and possibly precipitating its extinction.
Hooded seal (Cystophora cristata)
Range: Svalbard, north of Norway, to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada
The arctic hooded seal is named for the male’s inflatable hood, which extends from his nose to his forehead, but even more striking is the adult male’s inflatable red nasal membrane, which he can blow up like a balloon to impress females and compete with other males for their attention. Female hooded seals give birth on sea ice in traditional areas and nurse their pups for an average of only four days, the shortest lactation period of any mammal. During those four days, pups double in size because their mothers’ milk has a fat content of 60 percent.

The early breakup and decreasing stability of sea ice in the traditional areas where hooded seals give birth and nurse their pups threatens the hooded seal’s survival. Weaned pups need to rest on sea ice for several weeks before they enter the icy waters to learn how to hunt for themselves, and the melting of sea ice during this crucial period means they may not live to see adulthood.
Human being (Homo sapiens)
Range: Global
Homo sapiens, the Latin name for the modern human species, means “wise man.” Modern humans evolved in east Africa about 200,000 years ago. As of 2009, there are more than 6.8 billion of us on Earth. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection and problem solving, but can they put these qualities to use when it comes to the man-made challenge posed by global warming?

Health and climate scientists believe that global warming is already responsible for some 150,000 deaths each year, and they fear that the number may well double by 2030. Global warming also contributes to some 5 million human illnesses every year. Some of the ways global warming negatively affects human health — especially in poorer nations — include: speeding the spread of infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever; creating conditions that lead to potentially fatal malnutrition and diarrhea; and increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves, floods, and other weather-related disasters. Studies have also found a direct link between rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and increased human mortality. Added air pollution caused by each degree Celsius increase in temperature caused by CO2 leads to about 1,000 additional deaths in the United States and many more cases of respiratory illness and asthma.
Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
Range: Along coasts of Chile and Peru in the southeastern Pacific Ocean
Named after the cold water current it swims in — which is itself named after explorer Alexander von Humboldt — the Humboldt penguin is also known as the Peruvian penguin or patranca. Humboldt penguins of Peru and Chile have declined from more than a million birds in the 19th century to about 10,000 today. This decline has been caused in part by overfishing of penguin prey, loss of habitat from guano exploitation, and egg and chick predation by introduced species. Now, the warming of the Humboldt Current — the food-rich ocean ecosystem where the Humboldt penguin lives — and the intensification of warm-water El Niño events threaten this bird’s food supply. Humboldt numbers dropped dramatically after the strong 1997-98 El Niño event, and warming ocean temperatures are likely to make future El Niño events stronger.

In response to a Center petition, in December 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed protection for seven species of penguin, including the Humboldt.
Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas)
Range: Tierra del Fuego, Argentine Patagonia, north to California
The Humboldt is an intelligent, adaptable, and highly successful predator. Normally found in very deep waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Humboldt can reach lengths of up to seven feet and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. But climate change may radically alter the Humboldt’s range: As ocean waters have warmed, the squid has expanded northward and has recently been found as far north as Alaska. Making matters worse, scientists have found that rising ocean acidification will significantly depress the metabolic rates and activity levels of this jumbo squid — an effect that will only be exacerbated by higher water temperatures. Further, an increase in oxygen-depleted areas of the ocean may compress the habitable depth range of the species.
Humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatas)
Range: Throughout the Indo-Pacific oceans
With sumptuous, fleshy lips and a bulbous, protruding forehead, the humphead wrasse is an unforgettable fish. However, this enormous, colorful coral-reef dweller is slow to reproduce, making it vulnerable to overfishing. The species’ total population has dropped by at least half in just 30 years. With concern mounting over sinking humphead wrasse populations, the trade in this species became regulated by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species — but the wrasse is still in danger. This fish depends on corals throughout its life. Tiny larval wrasse actively select branching hard and soft corals as their new home. Juveniles are found among thickets of dense branching corals, while adult wrasse inhabit a reef’s outer slopes and steep drop-offs. The global warming- and ocean acidification-induced die-off of coral reefs is leaving coral-dependent fishes like the humphead wrasse without a home.

In 2007 the Center, aware of the threats of climate change and overfishing, filed a petition to list the humphead wrasse under the Endangered Species Act.
Ivory gull (Pagophila eburnean)
Range: Arctic, Greenland, northernmost North America, and Eurasia
The ivory gull, named for its completely white plumage, inhabits the remote Arctic Ocean throughout the year, enduring some of the harshest conditions on the planet. It uses sea-ice floes, sea-ice edges, and openings in the sea ice called polynyas as its foraging grounds, and it has been known to follow polar bears and other predators to feed on the remains of their kills. The ivory gull is threatened by contaminants in its food, overhunting in some regions, and now climate change. Already a rare species, ivory gulls have declined by 80 percent in Canada over the past 20 years. Because the ivory gull spends most of its life on sea ice, the rapid loss of sea ice during the Arctic summer threatens this species with further population declines and even extinction.
Ivory tree coral (Oculina varicosa)
Range: Western Atlantic
This Caribbean coral is a slow-growing and delicate-branching coral whose thickets provide a home to various reef fish. Ivory tree coral is considered a keystone species, meaning that its own health indicates the health of the ecosystem around it — thus, it’s telling that these corals have been decimated by destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling, which has killed about 30 percent of the population across its range. And today, corals like the ivory tree are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. With warming ocean temperatures comes frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification harms corals’ ability to build their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Range: Western Atlantic seaboard from Florida to New England; Gulf of Mexico
The critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is the smallest and rarest sea turtle. In 1947, there were an estimated 89,000 nesting females, but by the mid-1980s, that number had plummeted to an estimated 1,000. One of the biggest threats to the species has been shrimp trawling, which entangles and drowns the turtles. Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles change color with development. As hatchlings, they’re almost entirely a dark gray, but adults have a yellow-green or white undershell and a gray-green upper shell. Sea-level rise may inundate nesting beaches for the Kemp’s Ridley; increased sand temperatures can lead to changes in the sex ratio of hatchling turtles; and changes in ocean current can alter turtle migrations paths and feeding patterns.

The Center has waged a long battle to curtail fishing practices such as longlining and trawling that threaten the Kemp’s Ridley.
King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)
Range: Oceanic islands in the sub-Antarctic
King penguins are found on sub-Antarctic islands and are frequently misidentified as emperor penguins. The second-largest species of penguin, these birds are colored with a black and white “tuxedo” pattern and have distinct, bright orange ear patches. While populations have recovered from early overexploitation, king penguins now face the ominous threats of climate change and ocean acidification. Scientists studying king penguins in the southern Indian Ocean have found that warm-water conditions impair the survival of adults and their success in rearing young. These researchers have warned that king penguins face a risk of extinction under scenarios of future ocean warming. Moreover, ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean threatens the penguin’s prey species.
Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris)
Range: Alaska and the Russian Far East
The Kittlitz’s murrelet is a small seabird that nests on open ground near the tops of the rugged coastal mountains of Alaska and Siberia. Also known as “glacier murrelets,” these birds search for food in cloudy coastal waters next to glaciers and glacier outflows during summer, aided by their large eyes. Over the past century, surface temperatures in Alaska have increased twice as much as the global average. In response, Alaska’s coastal glaciers are dramatically retreating and thinning, reducing the Kittlitz’s murrelet’s foraging habitat. With coastal glaciers melting away, Alaska Kittlitz’s murrelet populations have plummeted by 80 to 90 percent in the past 20 years.

In 2001, the Center petitioned to protect the Kittlitz’s murrelet under the Endangered Species Act. In 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed the species on the candidate list, denying it needed protections. The next year, the Center filed suit to force full protection of the Kittlitz’s murrelet and 282 other imperiled candidate species.
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
Range: Coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia
A much-beloved emblem of Australia, the koala is one of the world’s most popular marsupials. Nearly hunted to extinction in the early 20th century for its fur, the animal is now facing threats from habitat loss, urbanization, and climate change.

Scientists have found that increases in CO2 could lower the nutritional value of the koala’s plant food — the leaves of eucalyptus trees. As CO2 increases in the atmosphere, eucalyptus trees are more likely to increase the amount of carbon-based “anti-nutrients” in their leaves, which interfere with the koala’s ability to digest its food. Thanks to global warming, the eucalyptus trees that koalas prefer today may no longer provide nutritious-enough leaves for koalas in the future.
Kootenai River white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)
Range: Approximately 168 miles of the Kootenai River in Idaho and Montana and Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada
This sturgeon‘s upstream migration to spawn has been virtually halted by the effects of Libby Dam, which has dramatically changed water flows — a regime that’s forcing fish to spawn over areas with a sandy bottom, where their eggs become encased in sand and drift downriver to die. Without better management, the Kootenai River white sturgeon could be extinct in 20 years. This fish has specific requirements for water temperature and substrate when laying eggs, so rising river temperatures and changes in peak water flows due to climate change will make reproduction even more difficult for this ancient species.

In 1999, five years after the sturgeon was designated as an endangered species, the Center filed suit to earn critical habitat for the fish. We won the suit, and in 2008, the Service protected an area with good sturgeon spawning habitat.
Alveopora coral (Alveopora fenestrata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Although they occupy only 0.2 percent in area of our oceans, coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems. Lamarck’s sheet coral has long polyps with long tentacles, making this coral’s appearance similar to a bouquet of tiny flowers. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including this species, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)
Range: Breeds on oceanic islands in tropical and subtropical Pacific Ocean, mainly Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; forages in North Pacific Ocean
Laysan albatrosses mate for life and attract their partners in a complex courtship dance complete with sky calling, wing flapping, and bill fencing. This elegantly plumaged albatross was nearly decimated by feather hunters in the early 1900s. Today, major threats come from commercial longline fisheries, which hook and drown thousands of birds each year; contaminated feeding and nesting grounds; and climate change. On Midway Island, up to 10,000 Laysan albatross each year are poisoned when they eat lead-based paint chips that peel off the deteriorating military buildings near their nest sites. Many chicks develop a condition called droopwing, which prevents them from lifting their wings and leads to death by starvation and dehydration. Because most of the world’s Laysan albatrosses nest on the low-lying islands of the Northwestern Hawaiian Island chain, sea-level rise and higher storm surge caused by climate change threaten to drown nests.
Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Range: All tropical and subtropical oceans, as far south as the southernmost tip of New Zealand and as far north as the Arctic Circle
As ancient as the dinosaurs, leatherback sea turtles are the heaviest reptiles on the planet. In addition to longlines and gillnets, these remarkable creatures face the threat of global warming. Rising sea levels, increased sand temperatures, and stronger storms threaten the sandy beaches the turtles use to nest. Shifting currents may alter the ocean’s upwelling patterns, which turtles depend on for food. And because turtles lack sex chromosomes, their genes don‘t determine whether a hatchling is male or female. Instead, buried eggs take their cue from the ambient temperature. With a mere two-degree increase over 29 degrees Celsius, a nest will produce all females — a few degrees higher, and eggs won‘t hatch at all. To maintain a viable breeding population, a cool, male-producing year must come at least once every five to 10 years.

Since leatherbacks are particularly imperiled in the Pacific Ocean, in 2007 the Center petitioned to obtain critical habitat for leatherbacks off California and Oregon. In 2009, we filed a notice of intent to sue to speed habitat protection.
Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Range: Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans
Loggerhead sea turtles make some of the longest known journeys of any sea turtle species, each year migrating more than 7,500 miles between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico. Along the way, they must navigate past millions of longline hooks, which catch and kill thousands of sea turtles, seabirds, marine mammals, and sharks. Gillnet fisheries likewise entangle and drown many loggerheads. Making matters much worse, rising sea levels due to global warming threaten to destroy Florida’s nesting beaches, and rising temperatures could dramatically tilt the balance of male and female turtles being hatched, endangering the species’ reproductive abilities. This is because turtles’ gender is determined by temperature; in warmer weather, there are fewer males born, and with a temperature just two degrees higher than 29 degrees Celsius, almost all hatchlings are females.

The Center has repeatedly litigated to curtail commercial fishing practices harming the loggerhead. Following one lawsuit, longline fishing for swordfish was prohibited along the West Coast. In 2007, we petitioned to list North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles as endangered, as well as to increase protections in key nesting habitat.
Longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys)
Range: Estuaries along the Pacific Coast, from San Francisco Bay to Alaska
Longfin smelt were once one of the most abundant open-water fishes in the San Francisco Bay Estuary — commercially important fish, key to the Bay food web. Today the species’ numbers have plummeted to record lows in the Bay-Delta, and it’s nearing extinction in other northern California estuaries. Thanks to poor management of California’s largest estuary ecosystem, which has allowed excessive water diversions and reduced freshwater flow into the Bay, the longfin smelt has undergone two catastrophic declines in just 20 years. Among the threats to the little fish posed by global warming are warming waters, sea-level rise and accompanying salinity intrusion, changes in timing and amounts of freshwater inflow, and increased frequency and intensity of floods.

In 2007, the Center and allies petitioned for state endangered species protection for the longfin smelt. In 2009, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to declare the smelt threatened.
Lungless salamander (Pseudoeurycea goebeli)
Range: Guatemala and Mexico
As their name implies, lungless salamander lack lungs, breathing through their skin and the tissues lining their mouths. They must keep these surfaces moist in order to breathe, so they have to live in damp environments, like beneath logs, in caves, or in wet rock crevices — only venturing out in humid weather.

A 2009 study shows that common salamanders are disappearing in the tropical forests of Guatemala and Mexico. This may be partly thanks to climate change, which is shifting temperatures and humidity, factors intimately linked to the very survival of lungless salamanders and other amphibians.
Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
Range: From the sub-Arctic to the Antarctic Peninsula
One of six species of crested penguin, the macaroni penguin’s most distinctive feature is its yellow crest. With about 18 million individuals, the macaroni is the most numerous penguin species. But since the mid-1970s, it has suffered widespread declines. Ocean warming and the melting of sea-ice in the Southern Ocean have been linked to large-scale declines in the macaroni penguin’s prey. In the south Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, krill have declined by 80 percent since the 1970s. Scientists project that a one-degree Celsius rise in sea surface temperature in this region could result in a further 95-percent reduction of krill. In the southern Indian Ocean, a 50-percent decline in the macaroni population on Marion Island has been linked to ocean warming.

The Center filed a scientific petition in 2006 to gain Endangered Species Act protection for 12 of the most imperiled penguin species, including the macaroni. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed protection for seven species, but denied it for three — including the macaroni.
Marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Range: Pacific Coast of North America from the Aleutian Archipelago and southern Alaska to central California
In 1974, the marbled murrelet — the “enigma of the Pacific” — won the distinction of being the last bird species in the United States to have its nesting site discovered. Rather than building a nest, this seabird travels inland as much as 50 miles to lay a single egg high in the old-growth forest canopy, which it depends on for survival. Climate change threatens the murrelet’s terrestrial nesting and marine feeding habitats. Forest growth is expected to decrease over the long term as temperatures increase and trees can no longer benefit from increased winter precipitation and longer growing seasons. Forest ecosystems will also be altered by increases in extreme flooding, landslides, and windthrow events, as well as by changes in fire regimes and drought. The murrelet’s marine habitat is at risk due to global warming’s potential to exacerbate harmful algal blooms, dead zones, and food availability and quality.

In 2008, the Center succeeded in halting a timber-industry attack on the bird’s Endangered Species Act status.ction
Medium tree finch (Camarhynchus pauper)
Range: Floreana Island, Galápagos
One of Charles Darwin’s famous 14 finches — the island-dwelling bird species that helped inspire the theory of evolution — the medium tree finch is found only on Floreana, one of the major islands of the Galápagos archipelago. Historic threats to this finch include habitat destruction and fragmentation, but one of the most pressing threats today is the Philornis downsi, an introduced parasitic fly whose larvae feed on the finch’s nestlings. This bird dwells in moist highland forest habitat in montane evergreen and tropical deciduous forest at elevations above 250 meters on Floreana Island. Because it’s limited to highly fragmented forest patches estimated to cover only 23 square kilometers, the medium tree finch is jeopardized by the upslope shift in its already restricted habitat due to climate change.

Thanks to a Center lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to protect the medium tree finch in 2008.
Mexican garter snake (Thamnophis eques megalops)
Range: From central and southeastern Arizona to Oaxaca, Mexico
Oases in the desert, Southwestern streams are among the most delicate ecosystems on the planet. In these shallow, ephemeral waters, species like the Mexican garter snake once carved out a precarious existence. But these highly adapted, rare animals are no match for pumping, livestock grazing, and flood control, which have already nearly dried up desert rivers. Future climate scenarios, with an increase in temperature and more precipitation extremes — including increasing drought — threaten the riparian habitat of the Mexican garter snake.

In 2007, the Center filed suit to overturn a decision denying the snake protection, and in May of the next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally announced it would revisit the species’ status. In 2008, the Service once again denied the species federal safeguards, making it a mere “candidate” for listing, but we’ll continue our fight to protect the snake.
Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus bailey)
Range: Arizona and New Mexico
The smallest gray wolf subspecies in North America, the Mexican gray wolf is also one of the rarest and most endangered mammals on the continent. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (and its predecessor agency) poisoned and trapped almost all Mexican wolves from the wild from 1915 until 1973; the last five survivors, captured between 1977 and 1980, were bred in captivity and their progeny reintroduced in 1998. At the end of 2008, only two Mexican wolf breeding pairs remained in the wild. Mexican wolves are threatened by drought which may lower prey numbers and bring the wolves into greater conflict with the livestock industry.

In 2009, we petitioned to protect the Mexican gray wolf separately from other U.S. gray wolves, as an endangered subspecies or a “distinct population segment” — which would compel the development of an updated federal recovery plan.
Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida)
Range: From the four-corner states southward into west Texas and Mexico’s Sierra Madres
The spotted owl has long served as a flagship species for environmentalists across the nation, and the Mexican spotted owl is the Southwest’s most famous old-growth resident. Unfortunately, by the late 1980s — at the height of logging in the national forests — biologists estimated that only 2,000 remained. The species’ numbers are still declining as it continues to lose habitat to logging, development, mining, and wildfire. This owl relies on cool, shady habitats that could be altered by climate change for both the owl and the small mammals they prey upon to survive. Spotted owls are believed to be heat intolerant, thus occupying dense forest to avoid high temperatures. Rising temperatures during nesting seasons could be particularly traumatic, as they could lead to nest failure and birds abandoning their territory. Owls that occupy the driest portions of the forest will be threatened first, which could result in higher population fragmentation and genetic isolation.

After multiple Center lawsuits, the Mexican spotted owl’s critical habitat was expanded to more than 8 million acres.
Mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus)
Range: Alpine and sub-alpine zones in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia
This tiny possum is one of only a few hibernating marsupials. Its has a thick-furred, mouse-like body, enlarged front teeth, a long tail, nimble front feet designed for gathering food, and strong back feet for gripping. Before an individual possum was found alive in 1966, this species was known only from fossils. The mountain pygmy possum requires a snow depth of at least one meter for adequate insulation during hibernation. With global warming , snowfalls are projected to decrease, and this decreasing snow — combined with shrinking habitat and increased predation from foxes and cats — could lead to this pocket-sized possum’s extinction.
Mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata)
Range: Western Atlantic
Once considered the dominant reef-building corals of the Atlantic, more than half of these corals have disappeared in just three decades. This Caribbean coral is susceptible to bleaching, ocean acidification, pollution, and disease. Already, the decline and death of this coral is outpacing its ability to grow and build new colonies. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming including, mountainous star coral.
Musk ox (Ovibos moschatus)
Range: Arctic areas of Canada, Greenland, and Alaska
The musk ox, or its ancestor, is believed to have migrated to North America between 200,000 and 90,000 years ago. Alive in the Pleistocene period, the musk ox was a contemporary of the mammoth. Among this species’ distinguishing attributes: Males use a musky odor to attract females during mating season, and when the herd is threatened, adult musk oxen face outward to form a ring around the calves. Though effective against predators such as wolves, this configuration makes them an easy target for human hunters.

It’s thought that the musk ox survived the last ice age by finding ice-free areas away from prehistoric peoples, but as temperatures warm thanks to climate change, increasing rain-on-snow events may jeopardize musk oxen. When rain falls on top of snowpack and freezes into a sheet of ice, musk oxen are unable to break through the ice to browse on plants underneath and can starve. In 2003, about 20,000 musk oxen starved to death due to a rain-on-snow event.
Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)
Range: Predominantly in the Atlantic and Russian areas of the Arctic
The narwhal — the unicorn of the sea — is actually a toothed whale that lives year round in the Arctic. Its best-known feature: the male’s long, straight, spiraled tusk. In summer, narwhals rear their calves in coastal bays and fjords, while in winter narwhals move to traditional offshore areas covered with heavy pack ice, where they dive to depths of up to 4,500 feet to find halibut and cod and rely on few-and-far-between cracks in the sea ice to breathe. The remarkable narwhal is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to its narrow geographical range, habitat specificity, and specialized diet. Decreasing sea-ice cover over its wintering grounds may reduce the availability of its main prey species. Shrinking sea-ice cover is also increasing the abundance of one of the narwhal’s main predators — the killer whale — in areas like Hudson Bay that were previously inaccessible due to heavy ice cover. The melting ice is also exposing some narwhal populations to more human hunting.
North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)
Range: Atlantic Ocean, particularly between 20° and 60° latitude.
The North Atlantic right whale’s scientific name is Eubalaena glacialis, which means “good, or true, whale of the ice.” About 400 of these whales live in the North Atlantic Ocean, migrating between feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine and calving areas in Georgia and Florida. Dangerously, their paths collide with heavily used shipping routes, and between 1970 and 1999, 35.5 percent of recorded right whale deaths were attributed to ship strikes. North Atlantic right whales are also threatened by climate change because they appear to have better calf survival when Calanus copepod prey are abundant, and climate change influences the abundance of this prey species.

To protect the North Atlantic right whale, the Center petitioned for critical habitat for the species in 2009.
North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica)
Range: Sightings generally occur in mouth of the Sea of Okhotsk and in eastern Bering Sea
Whalers named the North Pacific right whale thinking that these were the “right whales” to kill because they’re slow swimmers, they swim within sight of shore, and their carcasses float. Thus it’s no surprise that, though once abundant, the North Pacific right whale is now the most endangered whale in the world, with likely fewer than 50 individuals left today. With the melting of sea ice due to climate change, the food web in the Bering Sea — the North Pacific right whale’s summering grounds — is changing dramatically. The combined effects of ocean warming and ocean acidification may reduce the abundance of the right whale’s plankton prey. And increasing offshore oil development and shipping activity in increasingly ice-free Arctic waters heightens threats from oil spills and ship strikes.

In 2000, the Center formally requested that the National Marine Fisheries Service protect the whale’s critical habitat. After years of inaction, the Center sued, and eventually, the Fisheries Service designated critical habitat in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.
Northern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi)
Range: Breeds on Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha in the southern Atlantic Ocean and the St. Paul Islands in the southern Indian Ocean
As their name implies, rockhopper penguins hop instead of waddle, like many penguins. In the rocky areas they inhabit, hopping is a much more efficient way to move around. Despite this adaptation, a study published in 2009 showed that the world population of northern rockhopper penguins had declined by an astounding 90 percent since the 1950s. One of the possible factors in this precipitous decline: warming oceans and ocean acidification, which can lead to less prey in the marine ecosystems the penguin depends on.

The Center filed a scientific petition in 2006 to gain Endangered Species Act protection for 12 of the most imperiled penguin species, including the northern rockhopper. But while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed protection for seven species, it denied it for three — including the northern rockhopper. The Center sued in 2009.
Octopus coral (Galaxea astreata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The octopus coral has historically proven to be particularly sensitive to high bleaching rates and subsequent mortality, as demonstrated in a 1998 bleaching event in Palau. Its densely packed and brightly colored polyps have also made it a favorite amongst aquarium hobbyists, resulting in rapid, unsustainable collection. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the octopus coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Okinawa dugong (Dugong dugong)
Range: Coastal waters of Okinawa, Japan
Dugongs, distant relatives of the manatee, can live for 70 years and grow to nearly 1,000 pounds. Yet somehow these gentle creatures have been mistaken for mermaids. After decades of U.S. military operations in Japan’s Henoko Bay, possibly fewer than 50 dugongs struggle to survive in Okinawa — once dubbed the “Galapagos of the East” for its rich biodiversity. Today, they also face the additional threat of global warming. Climate change may result in increased tropical sea surface temperatures, increased tropical rainfall, and consequently more frequent and intense hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones. Global warming has the potential to interfere with the dugong’s feeding, migration, reproduction, and ultimately abundance.

In 2003, the Center led a coalition of Japanese and American environmental groups in suing the U.S. Department of Defense to halt the construction of an American airbase in Henoko Bay. In 2008, a federal judge ruled against the Department of Defense.
Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentate)
Range: Pacific Rim from Japan through Alaska, North American Pacific Coast to Baja California, Mexico
Ancient, jawless fish, lampreys superficially resemble eels but aren’t related to them. They have an anadromous life cycle (migrating to freshwater for spawning), similar to salmon and steelhead trout. Large concentrations of adult and larval lampreys were once an important and dependable high-fat food source for many birds, fish, and mammals along the Pacific Coast and acted as a buffer to reduce predation on migrating adult salmon. Like salmon, lampreys play a key ecological role transporting nutrients like nitrogen to freshwater ecosystems. Because the survival of Pacific lamprey larvae is sensitive to temperature, and larvae appear to have a little tolerance for high temperatures, rising stream temperatures from global warming may threaten Pacific lamprey populations. Increases in extreme rainfall events and flooding may also scour or eliminate the gravel beds that lamprey need for spawning.

Alarmed by severe declines of Pacific lamprey in many rivers, the Center joined a coalition in petitioning for Endangered Species Act protection for the Pacific lamprey, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eventually denied listing.
Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens)
Range: Arctic waters of Bering and Chukchi seas between Alaska and Siberia, as well as eastern Siberian Sea and western Beaufort Sea
With tusks like an elephant and weighing up to 4,500 pounds, the Pacific walrus is one blubbery beast. Female walruses and their calves follow the sea ice year-round and rely on the safety of ice floes for nursing and resting, since they can’t swim continuously. Global warming has already significantly reduced sea ice the Pacific walrus needs for resting, giving birth, and nursing young. When the sea ice retreats from the feeding grounds, females and calves are forced to come ashore, where the young are vulnerable to predators and to being trampled to death in abnormally large herds. In 2007, 3,000 to 4,000 young walruses were trampled to death in Siberia, while in 2009, 133 young walruses were trampled to death in Alaska. The walrus’s feeding grounds are also being auctioned off to oil companies to extract more fossil fuels.

In 2008, the Center petitioned to protect the walrus under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, and in 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a positive finding on our petition.
Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki)
Range: Endemic to west-central Panama
Ancient Panama legend promised luck to anyone who spotted the Panamanian golden frog — one of the world’s harlequin frog species — in the wild. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible today. In 2006, the frog-killing chytridiomycosis disease hit the species’ native home, the clear streams of the volcanic crater of El Valle de Antón. This small, brightly colored frog — whose populations were already under pressure due to collectors and habitat loss — was decimated. Similar species still hop around in Panama’s mountain forests, but now the only remaining Panamanian golden frogs are those bred in captivity at a handful of zoos.

The neotropical harlequin frogs in the genus Atelopus have declined more catastrophically than any other amphibian genus. Of 113 species, at least 30 have vanished in the past 25 years, and the populations of another 12 species have declined by 50 percent or more. Rising temperatures from climate change are thought to have played a role in these declines by promoting outbreaks of the infectious chytridiomycosis disease.
Peninsular bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis cremnobates)
Range: California south into Baja California, Mexico
Peninsular bighorn sheep can get water from cacti, splitting the spiny barrel cactus with their horns and eating its watery insides. Up to 2 million bighorns roamed North America at the turn of the 20th century, but now only 70,000 remain. Peninsular bighorns, a so-called “distinct population segment” of these, number only in the hundreds. Still, their population has grown since they were federally protected. Researchers have linked population extinctions of Peninsular bighorns in California to higher temperatures and lower precipitation in lower-elevation mountains of its range. As California’s climate continues to warm and become drier, researchers predict that the probability of the bighorn’s extinction will increase significantly in the next 60 years.

Thanks to the Center, these bighorns currently lay claim to nearly 850,000 acres of critical habitat. In 2007, we scored a big victory for part of that habitat when we won an injunction preventing development-associated grading in California’s Chino Canyon.
Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus)
Range: Caribbean
Pillar corals grow in distinct groups of tall columns that occasionally reach more than six feet in height. Unlike most hard corals, the polyps are active in daytime, granting the pillar coral a soft, fuzzy appearance. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including pillar coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Piping plover (Charadrius melodus)
Range: Atlantic Coast of United States and Canada, Great Lakes
Thanks to their sand-colored plumage and stop-and-go dashes across dunes, piping plovers are usually heard before they’re seen. But their camouflage means they’re vulnerable to off-road vehicles and other threats, which have made them among the rarest shorebirds in North America. Off-road vehicles, which ruin habitat, crush nests and eggs, and directly kill birds. Climate change poses a growing threat to the piping plover. Many plovers nest on the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and all plovers winter along the beaches and dunes of the southern Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coastlines. Sea-level rise and storm intensification threaten to inundate the piping plover’s coastal breeding and foraging habitat; degrade the quality of habitat for foraging, nesting, and cover; and alter the composition and availability of prey species.

To save piping plovers, the Center has been working hard to keep off-road vehicles out of precious habitat through our Off-road Vehicles campaign. We also filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inadequately protecting piping plover habitat.
Pitcher’s thistle (Cirsium pitcher)
Range: Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin
Pitcher’s thistle is endemic to the unforested dune systems on the shores of the western Great Lakes. There are 173 known occurrences found in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. This plant is a perennial herb that grows for five to eight years before sending up a once-in-a-lifetime pink or creamy white flower atop a three-foot stalk. Pitcher’s thistle requires active sand dunes to grow; residential development, road construction, and off-road vehicles have destroyed much of its habitat. The plant was listed as threatened in 1988.

Limited populations make the pitcher’s thistle particularly vulnerable to disturbance and stochastic events such as drought. Global warming threatens the pitcher’s thistle through changing rain patterns that can increase the likelihood of drought, as well as causing higher temperatures that may increase water needs during the plant’s bloom and throughout the year.
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)
Range: In and around Arctic Ocean
Though the polar bear is a mighty hunter and fierce defender of its young, it’s among the world’s most climate change-threatened animals. Polar bears live throughout the ice-covered waters of the circumpolar Arctic and are totally reliant on the sea ice for essential activities, including hunting and feeding on seals, seeking mates and breeding, making long-distance movements, and in some cases building dens on the ice to rear cubs. Global warming is affecting the Arctic far more rapidly and intensely than the rest of the world, causing the bears’ sea-ice habitat to melt away. Scientists estimate that if the Arctic continues its melting trend, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will go extinct by 2050, while the rest will near extinction by the end of the century.

Thanks to a Center petition and Center-led legal action, the polar bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008 — though both the Bush and Obama administrations have refused to let the listing affect U.S. climate policy. We’re currently working to achieve true protections for the bear, simultaneously defending its listing from attempts to overturn it.
Puerto Rico rock frog (Coquí guajón)
Range: Puerto Rico
The Puerto Rico rock frog, also known as the coquí guajón, is part of the much celebrated family of Puerto Rican tropical frogs. Despite being the state animal and considered emblematic of the region, of the 17 species of coquí, three are believed to be extinct and the rest are rare and declining in numbers. Dramatic population declines in 1983 of this species and other Puerto Rican frogs were linked to an increased number of extended dry periods. Changes in precipitation that lead longer dry periods threaten this species.

The coquí guajón was granted federal protection in 1997, but was only given full habitat protections in 2007 after the Center applied pressure to federal authorities.
Puget Oregonian (Cryptomastix devia)
Range: Southwestern British Columbia south to the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge
The Puget Oregonian is a small snail that inhabits the Pacific Northwest and southwestern Canada. Little is known for sure about this rare and reclusive snail, which is only found in small, scattered populations. It is believed to be slow to mature and long lived, but the species faces a host of threats including habitat destruction and fragmentation, competition from introduced species, and increasingly, climate change.

This snail prefers moist valleys, ravines, gorges, or talus sites near permanent or persistent water in areas not subject to frequent flooding. Because it depends on moist microhabitat, the Puget Oregonian is likely to be detrimentally affected by changes in ground temperature and drier soil conditions as global warming increases temperatures and drought.
Puget Sound killer whale (Orcinus orca)
Range: Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Strait, Haro Strait, and Georgia Strait
Orcas, more commonly known as killer whales, are one of the most recognizable — and beloved — marine mammals. Sadly, that’s not enough to guarantee their continued survival, particularly in the case of the genetically distinct Puget Sound subpopulation. While many orcas prey on marine mammals, the killer whales of Puget Sound subsist largely on Chinook salmon. Climatic changes affecting the health of the Chinook will have far-reaching consequences for the orcas. Climate change is thought to pose a major threat to the cold-water Chinook: Rising temperatures and altered river flows, caused by changing precipitation and snow-melt patterns, impede the survival of eggs, fry, smolts, and adults, as well as the ability of adults to migrate upstream for spawning.

The Center has done groundbreaking work to protect this unique group of orcas, including assembling a team of scientists and activists that ultimately predicted extinction for this population within the next 100 years — unless drastic action is taken.
Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi)
Range: Coastal rainforests of Alaska, Queen Charlotte Islands, and Vancouver Island
The Queen Charlotte subspecies of the northern goshawk, with its legendary beauty and flying skill, evolved to live in the lush coastal rainforests of Alaska and the Queen Charlotte and Vancouver islands. With climate change, warmer-adapted tree species such as Douglas fir may expand northward into the Queen Charlotte’s range and may increase competition with northern goshawks.

The Center’s efforts to save this goshawk have proven instrumental in protecting vast swatches of Alaskan Tongass wilderness, despite administrative posturing that has prevented the goshawk from being granted Endangered Species Act protection within its entire natural range. Besides petitioning to protect the bird federally, the Center has challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s repeated refusals to list the bird in its U.S. range. Thanks to our work, its Canada populations are protected.
Quitobaquito pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius)
Range: Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona
The only known Quitobaquito pupfish in the world make their home in a half-acre pond in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Brightly colored but small (just five centimeters), pupfish feed on worms, insects, and zooplankton. Predation by nonnative species and sedimentation of water due to erosion of surrounding land are the prime culprits behind the pupfish’s decline. The construction of the nearby Mexican border fence is worsening the erosion. The Quitobaquito pupfish has been on the endangered species list since 1986. While this little fish can tolerate warm water, its half-acre pond could warm to unprecedented and dangerous levels if climate changes goes unchecked, or fall to dangerously low water levels with increasing drought conditions.

To help the Quitobaquito pupfish and other border species, the Center is working to ensure enforcement of environmental laws regarding border construction and activities, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.
Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma)
Range
A species of aloe indigenous to Namibia and South Africa — specifically the northern Cape region — the quiver tree is also called the kokerboom, and Southern Africa’s indigenous San people refer to it as choje. This species gets its name from the San practice of hollowing out the plant’s tubular branches to form quivers for arrows.

Field surveys have already shown declines in this species due to climate change. Documented quiver tree mortality was much higher on warmer, lower-elevation slopes than on higher ones. Moreover, trees located in hotter northern parts of South Africa were found to be struggling to survive in drought conditions. These trees, like many other unique South African plants, will need to migrate to areas with cooler conditions in order to survive the rapid rise in temperatures accompanying climate change. And of course, for plants, fast migration is no easy task.
Red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus)
Range: Western Amazon Basin of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil
After hearing the howler monkey’s roar, no one would question that this primate was appropriately named. The monkey’s earth-shaking calls, which can be heard miles away, are used by monkey troops to make their presence known and avoid confrontations with other troops, usually over food. Howler monkeys are among the largest of the New World monkeys, with nine species currently recognized. They can be seen high in the forest canopy using their long, prehensile tails to grab branches and living in groups of up to nine individuals. These groups contain only one or two males, which each have several female mates.

Researchers have found that red howler monkey populations decline during El Niño events, which affect food availability. The intensification of El Niño events due to climate change puts the red howler monkey in further peril.
Red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis)
Range: Arctic Europe
A strikingly colored bird, the red-breasted goose nests on the tundra in Arctic Europe and winters in southeastern Europe. The red-breasted goose has developed an ingenious method for protecting its young — it nests close to large birds of prey, which discourages other terrestrial predators from preying on the goose. Already found in relatively modest numbers, populations have been declining quickly in recent years without a clear cause.

Migratory birds like the red-breasted goose are vulnerable to climate change threats on their breeding and wintering grounds. This globally vulnerable goose is projected to lose 67 percent of its tundra breeding habitat with a moderate temperature increase of 1.7 degrees Celsius, and it could lose 99 percent of its habitat with a more extreme rise of 5 degrees Celsius.
Resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno)
Range: Central America, from southern Mexico to Panama With its spectacular green and red plumage and long, flowing tail, the resplendent quetzal was considered sacred by ancient Mayan civilizations. Today the quetzal is restricted to small, remnant cloud-forest patches in Central America due to habitat destruction from cattle ranching and agricultural land clearing. And climate change is putting extra stress on cloud-forest species like the quetzal. Drier conditions and prolonged drought due to global warming have been linked to recent declines in cloud-forest plants, while lower-elevation species like the keel-billed toucan have been moving upward into high-elevation cloud forests, with the potential to displace the quetzal.
Ribbon seal (Histriophoca fasciata)
Range: Endemic to the western and central North Pacific Ocean
Easily distinguished by the striking white ribbon bands trisecting its dense black fur, the ribbon seal is both one of the most beautiful and the most elusive of the true seals. Ribbon seals rely on ice floes at the edge of the sea ice as a safe place away from predators for giving birth and nursing their pups. The melting and early breakup of this sea-ice habitat threatens the seal’s ability to successfully rear its young. At least 40 percent of the ribbon seal’s winter sea ice habitat in the Bering Sea off Alaska is projected to disappear by 2050.

The Center is currently involved in litigation against U.S. Fish and Wildlife for declining to list the species as endangered after we petitioned to protect it in late 2007 — and with mounting scientific evidence showing listing is necessary to save the seal.
Royal penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli)
Range: Breeds on Australia’s Macquarie Island and nearby Bishop and Clerk islands
Royal penguins are very similar to the macaroni penguin in appearance, with the most notable differences being that they’re larger and have white chin feathers rather than black. The royal breeds on only one main sub-Antarctic island, and while it currently enjoys high population numbers, it’s still threatened by climate change. In addition to threats posed by competition with fisheries, warming ocean conditions and ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean threaten this penguin’s food supply.

The Center petitioned for the royal penguin to be listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened by climate change, and while the listing was ultimately denied, we continue to advocate for this and all penguins threatened by climate change and ocean acidification.
Sea butterfly (pteropod; Clione antarctica)
Range: Antarctic and sub-antarctic waters
This tiny, nonshelled marine snail of Antarctic waters spends its entire life at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. Propelling itself with paddle-like wings, Clione antarctica feeds almost exclusively on the shelled pteropod Limacina helicina. In a remarkable relationship, the amphipod Hyperiella dilatata appears to use Clione antarctica as protection from predation by antarctic fish. The amphipod grasps C. antarctica from the water and mounts its back, where the chemically defended pteropod serves to prevent the amphipod from being munched. This species is now gravely threatened by ocean acidification. Ocean acidification depletes seawater of the mineral aragonite that many marine organisms need to build shells and skeletons. Ocean acidification will not only impair Clione antarctica larvae from building their protective shell armor, but also threaten the ability of its prey — the shelled pteropod Limacina helicina — to survive.

The Center has petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification; we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification.
Sea butterfly (pteropod; Clione limacina)
Range: Northern Hemisphere in polar and cold temperate water
Though tiny — growing to about 25 millimeters in length — the nonshelled pteropod Clione limacina is a fierce predator. It feeds almost exclusively on shelled pteropods, grabbing its prey’s shell with six tentacles and extracting the animal inside with large hooks. After about 30 minutes of eating, it drops its prey’s empty shell and “flies” off through the water on the wing-like flaps it uses to propel itself. This species, though relatively common, is now gravely threatened by ocean acidification. Ocean acidification depletes seawater of the mineral aragonite that organisms need to build shells and skeletons. Ocean acidification will impair Clione limacina larvae from building their protective, thimble-shaped shell armor. Without its shelled prey, Clione limacine won’t survive, either.

The Center has petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification; we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification.
Sea butterfly (pteropod; Limacina helicina)
Range: Arctic and Southern oceans
These tiny shelled marine snails are called “sea butterflies” by some due to their elegant swimming style, and “potato chips of the sea” by others because they’re a key part of the marine food web in the polar oceans. Limacina helicina captures its prey by casting a web of mucus that traps tiny plankton. Pteropods are among the marine creatures most vulnerable to ocean acidification, global warming’s “evil twin.” Ocean acidification lowers the availability of the mineral aragonite that this pteropod uses to form its shell, hindering this snail from building its protective armor. Scientists project that acidic ocean conditions may be lethal for Limacina helicina in the Southern Ocean as early as 2030. The loss of these key organisms would be catastrophic for the marine food web.

The Center has petitioned eight coastal states to declare ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification; we also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from acidification.
Short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)
Range: Nest on Torishima and Minami-kojima in Japan’s Senkaku Islands; range across North in nonbreeding season
The short-tailed albatross was possibly once the most abundant of the three North Pacific albatrosses. Millions of these seabirds were killed for their feathers and eggs until they disappeared completely from their breeding islands and were thought to be extinct in 1949. However, a few birds survived at sea, and thanks to protections, there are about 2,000 today. The future of this species is still precarious, since the majority of the world’s population nests on an active volcano — Torishima Island — and birds face drowning in longline fisheries at sea.

Climate change poses additional challenges. The warming of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea may reduce its food availability. An increase in the frequency or severity of typhoons threatens its ability to raise its chicks. Short-tailed albatross breeding success is low in years with large typhoons because heavy rains falling on the steep volcanic slopes where the birds nest cause mud slides that destroy nests and kill chicks.
Small alpine xenica (Oreixenica latialis latialis)
Current distribution: Endemic to Australian Alps
The small alpine xenica is a butterfly found only in the Australian Alps – Australia’s highest mountain range. A little more than an inch long, the small alpine xenica definitely lives up to its name as a diminutive insect. While currently found in plentiful numbers, the projected disappearance of permanent snow cover and increased temperatures caused by climate change could result in the disappearance of the alpine habitat the xenica calls home.
Snares crested penguin (Eudyptes robustus)
Range: New Zealand’s Snares Islands
Similar in appearance to other crested penguins, the Snares crested is unique in that it breeds only on New Zealand’s Snares Islands. In addition to threats posed by competition with fisheries and oil spills, warming ocean conditions and ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean threaten this penguin’s food supply.

The Center petitioned to protect 12 warming-threatened penguins, including the Snares crested, under the Endangered Species Act in 2006, filing suit in 2007. Though the Snares crested was denied endangered status, we’ve continued to advocate for the penguin by working to stem climate change and ocean acidification.
Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Range: Arctic regions of both the old and new worlds
The snowy owl was first classified as a species in 1758. This large, white-feathered tundra dweller relies primarily on lemmings for food, but will take advantage of larger prey, including rabbits and foxes. It can eat more than 1,600 lemmings per year. The snowy owl is an extremely important component of the food web in the tundra ecosystem. Already, climate change may be threatening the snowy owl's primary prey — the lemming. In Norway, changes in temperature and humidity affecting snowpack may have interrupted the regular boom-and-bust cycle of lemming populations, making this food source less predictable for the owls. In addition, researchers have recently discovered that snowy owls may use Arctic sea-ice habitat extensively in winter for hunting sea ducks. The melting of the sea ice may impact the owl’s ability to hunt in winter.
Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
Range: Pacific Ocean and coastal streams
Sockeye salmon, also known as “red” or “blueback” salmon, live a dual existence between freshwater streams and the ocean. Sockeye salmon hatch in freshwater streams where they may live for up to four years before migrating to sea as silvery smolt weighing only a few ounces. They grow quickly in the sea, usually reaching four to eight pounds after one to four years. Mature sockeye salmon travel thousands of miles from ocean feeding areas to spawn in the same freshwater system they were born in. Little is known about how they navigate.

Climate change affects sockeye salmon in several important ways. As rivers get warmer, the survival rate of cold-water salmon migrating upstream to spawn is expected to plummet. Flooding events in the streams where sockeye spawn could wash eggs from the gravel beds where they’re laid. A recent study found that prolonged ocean warming could greatly restrict the ocean foraging areas of sockeye salmon.
Sonoran pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana)
Range: Southwest Arizona and Mexico
The fastest land mammal in North America, Sonoran pronghorn antelope originally developed their amazing speed to outrun prehistoric cheetahs. Sadly, the myriad threats that face them today are not so easily escaped. Drought appears to be a major factor affecting the survival of pronghorn adults and fawns, making increasingly severe and frequent drought in the Southwest a major threat to this species. Drought leaves pronghorn without enough water and nutritious forage and forces them to gather in areas near surface water, increasing competition for resources and the success of predators. During a drought in 2002, more than 80 percent of the existing pronghorn population died, leaving an estimated 21 pronghorn in Arizona.

The Center has been fighting for this elegant and graceful antelope by working tirelessly to secure protections for its home, the Sonoran Desert.
Sonoran toad (Bufo alvarius)
Range: Southwestern United States and northern Mexico
The Sonoran toad, also known as the Colorado River toad, is a large, carnivorous toad that lives in semi-aquatic environments throughout the Southwest. This toad spends the dry winters buried underground, using ponds and temporary pools formed by summer monsoons for laying eggs and developing tadpoles. The Sonoran toad is one of a handful of toads and frogs known to produce a psychoactive substance via its skin and venom.

While the toad is hardy enough to survive as an amphibian in a desert environment, increasing drought severity and decreases in standing water in the Southwest may make its aquatic breeding habitat more scarce.
Southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree)
Range: Restricted area of the Australian Alps
One of the most striking frogs in the world, the southern corroboree frog boasts bright lime or yellow and black stripes. Remarkably, each tiny frog bears a different pattern. “Corroboree” is an indigenous Australian word for a gathering where those in attendance paint themselves with yellow markings similar to those of the frog. This splashy frog is found only in a very small area of Kosciuszko National Park, one of the coldest areas on the Australian mainland, and at altitudes above 1300 meters. Unlike other frogs, it does not begin breeding until it reaches four years in age.

Corroboree frogs have adapted to cold, and with global warming, winters may no longer be long and cold enough for breeding. Hot dry weather in the Australian Alps in recent decades has already adversely affected egg and tadpole survival. Severe warming in the future may also devastate the frog’s alpine environment.
Southern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome)
Range: Southern Ocean Islands
The quintessential crested penguin, the southern rockhopper penguin was originally named for its propensity for jumping over obstacles. Like all penguins, the southern rockhopper faces a dire and immediate threat in the form of climate change. Scientists have linked increases in ocean temperature with large-scale declines in southern rockhopper penguin populations: an 80-percent decline on the Falkland Islands, a 60-percent decline on Marion Island, and 50- to 94-percent declines on three islands off New Zealand. The continued warming and acidification of the Southern Ocean inhabited by the southern rockhopper penguin threaten to diminish its food supply, posing a profound threat to this species’ survival.

The Center was able to secure Endangered Species Act protection for several populations of the southern rockhopper after we filed a petition seeking to list 12 penguin species as imperiled by climate change. We’re now seeking protections for the remaining southern rockhopper populations.
Southwestern myotis (Myotis auriculus)
Range: From Arizona and New Mexico to southern Mexico
The genus Myotis includes more than 80 species, including the southwestern myotis, which is found in wet pine-oak forest, desert scrub, dry forest, and ponderosa pines. This bat begins its “day” activity about one to two hours after sunset, flying around at about eight miles an hour in search of food. Its cuisine of choice: moths gleaned from tree trunks or walls of buildings. Deforestation is a dire threat to this bat, as is climate change.

The susceptibility of bats to local temperature, humidity, and precipitation patterns make them an early warning system for the cascading effects of climate change. Standing water sources are particularly important for bats living in arid areas, like the southwestern myotis. Lactating females need to drink much more than other bats to produce milk. One study found that predicted loss of water resources in the western United States due to climate change would lead to declines in regional bat populations, particularly by impeding bat reproduction.
Spalding’s catchfly (Silene spaldingii)
Range: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana
A leafy, perennial flower in the carnation family, Spalding's catchfly grows on low- to mid-elevation grasslands of the Palouse Prairie and adjacent areas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. There are currently 99 known populations, with two-thirds of these composed of fewer than 100 individuals each. Agricultural and urban development, off-road vehicle use and competition from nonnative plants have all contributed to its decline. Climate change exacerbates conditions for the spread of invasive plants and increases the intensity and frequency of fire, all major threats to the Spalding’s catchfly.

In 2001, the Center won a threatened listing for the Spalding’s catchfly, and we’ve since been working to reduce pesticide impacts on this sensitive plant.
Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)
Range: Throughout the world’s oceans
The sperm whale has the largest brain of any animal, produces a clicking noise that’s the loudest sound made by any animal, is considered the largest living predator — and possibly the largest predator ever — and can live up to 70 years. This whale was named after the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in its head and originally mistaken for sperm. Females cooperate to protect and nurse their young, giving birth to calves every three to six years and caring for the calves for more than a decade. Whaling led to the sperm whale’s current IUCN listing as vulnerable. Sperm-whale feeding success and calf production rates appear to be hurt by increases in sea-surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific. Rising ocean temperatures and changing currents may decrease the feeding and breeding success of at least some sperm whale populations and could alter whale migration patterns.

The Center is working to save sperm whales and other species threatened by development in the Virgin Islands’ Thatch Cay. We’ve also litigated to protect marine mammals like the sperm whale from longline fishing in Hawaii and elsewhere.
Spiny damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus)
Range: Indo-Australian archipelago
Reproduction for this tiny coral reef fish is quite elaborate. In some species of damselfish, the male will tend the eggs by fanning water across them with his fins, often picking out and eating dead eggs, presumably to prevent a fungus from developing that could threaten the whole batch. The male also aggressively guards the eggs, even from fish much larger than he is. Coral reef fish like the spiny damselfish are threatened by the loss of the corals they depend on in the face of warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. Warming ocean temperatures may also threaten spawning damselfish and the survival of their eggs. Studies have found that a temperature increase from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius resulted in a shortening of their ovulatory period from 32 days to 21 days, and incubation temperature was found to dramatically affect survival of the egg clutches, with only one of 13 egg clutches surviving to hatching at 24 degrees Celsius — compared to 50 of 51 egg clutches surviving at 28 degrees Celsius.
Spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus)
Range: Breeds in northeastern Russia and winters in southeast Asia
The most distinctive feature of this species is its spoon-like bill, which it uses in a side-to-side movement for feeding. But that distinctive feature may not be around much longer. This bird was first described in 1758 but today it is critically endangered, with a current population of fewer than 2,500 — and possibly fewer than 1,000 — adults. The display flight of the male includes brief hovers, circling, and rapid diving while singing. The spoon-billed sandpiper's breeding habitat is sea coasts and adjacent hinterland on the Chukchi peninsula and southward along the isthmus of the Kamchatka peninsula.

Warming temperatures from climate change threaten to drastically reduce this sandpiper’s tundra breeding grounds, while sea-level rise may affect the sandpiper’s tidal flat habitat on its migratory and wintering range. The spoon-billed sandpiper is projected to lose 56 percent of its Arctic tundra breeding grounds with warming of 1.7 degrees Celsius, which would displace more than 1,300 of the current breeding birds.
Staghorn coral (Acropora aculeus)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral are the most abundant corals on the majority of the reefs in the Indo-Pacific. Throughout its range, this coral can be found on any stretch of reef. However, this species is extremely sensitive to bleaching and disease, and it’s slow to recover. Corals like the staghorn are among the species most threatened by climate change. They’re already suffering from mass bleaching events that lead to death and disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including several Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora dendrum)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The genus name, Acropora, comes from the combination of the words akron (“extremity” in Greek) plus porous (“pore” in Latin), meaning that this species’ calcium skeleton is porous at the extremities or tips of each branch. This species can be found to a depth of 20 meters. Corals are facing extinction if we do not curb global warming. Mass bleaching events lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect several Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora donei)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Acropora corals are among the fastest-growing corals on a reef and are responsible for the majority of reef formations. This species, Acropora donei, is restricted to shallow fringing reefs and upper reef slopes where Acropora species diversity is high. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. To protect corals, scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora globiceps)
Range: Western central Pacific
Acropora globiceps likely spawns annually in October in French Polynesia. It’s found to a depth of eight meters. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including several Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora horrida)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Corals provide us with key examples of complex species interdependencies. For example, Acropora corals host symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae. The interdependence of coral with other species is one of the reasons why the crisis facing corals from global warming is so significant. Due to warming oceans, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming and two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora jacquelineae)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This uncommon coral is made up of colonies of flat plates that are uniform in color, either gray-brown or pinkish, and measuring up to one meter across. Viewed from above, the plates are covered with a mass of very fine, delicate curved axial corallites, giving it an almost moss-like appearance. Corals like this one are among the species most threatened by rising temperatures, which have lead to frequent mass bleaching events, widespread coral death, and higher risk of disease. Additionally, ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora listeri)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This coral is cream or brown colored. Its colonies are comprised of irregular clumps with thick branches that vary widely in length and shape. Some of this irregularity is a result of branches being tapered in wave-washed habitats. In less-exposed habitats, branches are conical, dome-shaped, or globular. Due to warming oceans, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve if we reach an atmospheric CO2 level of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Elkhorn and staghorn corals, two Acropora species in the Caribbean, are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora lokani)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Corals are marine organisms that exist as small, sea anemone-like polyps. They’re typically found in colonies of many identical individuals. This species’ colonies are composed of robust horizontal main branches, which usually diverge, and short upright branches, which diverge from main branches. The species is cream, brown, or blue but sometimes photographs as pink. Corals are already feeling the impacts of global warming: frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease, as well as ocean acidification that’s already hindering some corals from building their skeletons. All corals are predicted to dissolve at atmospheric CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including this one.
Staghorn coral (Acropora microclados)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This species’ colonies are formed of plates up to about three feet across, with short, uniform, evenly spaced, tapered branches. The species is typically a distinctive pale pinkish-brown, but it’s occasionally other colors. Scientists have said that CO2 levels must be reduced to 350 parts per million or below to protect corals, and if we reach levels of 560 ppm or above, all corals are predicted to dissolve. The impacts of greenhouse gas pollution on corals include frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to protect 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition includes numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including Acropora microclados.
Staghorn coral (cropora pharaonis)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral is a branching coral with cylindrical branches ranging from a few centimeters to more than two meters in length and height. Colonies of this gray-brown coral are made up of large tables or irregular clusters of horizontal or upright interlinked contorted branches that have pale tips. Corals are already suffering grave impacts from warming ocean temperatures: Mass bleaching events have led to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease, ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora polystoma)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
The dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn corals is asexual, with new colonies forming when branches break off and reattach. This method allows for rapid population recovery from physical disturbances like storms. However, it makes recovery from disease or bleaching episodes — where entire colonies or even entire stands are killed — very difficult. Thus, corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution, with warming ocean temperatures leading to mass bleaching events, coral death, and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including the Acropora polystoma.
Staghorn coral (Acropora retusa)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and western central Pacific
While the dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn coral is asexual, sexual reproduction does occur. Gametes (cells that fuse with another cell during fertilization) travel into the water column once each year in August or September. Individual colonies are both male and female and will release millions of gametes. The coral larvae live in the plankton for several days until finding a suitable area to settle; unfortunately, very few larvae survive to settle and metamorphose into new colonies. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals, including this species.
Staghorn coral (Acropora speciosa)
Range: Indo-West Pacific and western central Pacific
If this species of staghorn coral had a more specific common name, it might be called bottlebrush coral, since its colonies form thick cushions and bottlebrush branches. It’s a vibrant cream color with delicate corallite tips. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals found in Hawaii and the greater Pacific, including the Acropora speciosa. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora striata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Since 1980, populations of staghorn coral have collapsed throughout their ranges from disease outbreaks, with losses compounded locally by hurricanes, increased predation, bleaching, and other factors. The colonies of this species of staghorn coral consist of dense thickets of short, cylindrical branches that may form extensive stands. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including numerous Acropora corals.
Staghorn coral (Acropora tenella)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Staghorn coral faces many threats. It’s particularly susceptible to damage from sedimentation. It’s sensitive to temperature and salinity variation. This sensitivity has resulted in population declines of up to 98 percent throughout its range, with localized extirpations. This staghorn coral is comprised of cream branches with white or blue ends. Coral’s sensitivity to temperature means that it’s among the species most threatened by global warming. With ocean temperatures rising, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including Acropora tenella, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Two Acropora species in the Caribbean are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora vaughani)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
Colonies of this staghorn coral are usually open branched, becoming bushy on upper reef slopes and in shallow lagoons. Main branches may have compact branchlets, giving colonies a bushy appearance. This species is cream, pale brown, or blue but may photograph as pink. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals, including this one, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Two Acropora species are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Staghorn coral (Acropora verweyi)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
This uncommon staghorn species of resembles thorns. It’s dark greenish-brown, gray, or chocolate, sometimes with white oral cones and/or tentacle tips. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Our petition seeks to protect numerous Acropora corals and two Acropora species in the Caribbean — elkhorn and staghorn corals — are already protected as threatened as a result of a petition filed by the Center.
Starflower coral (Astreopora cucullata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
More than 100 countries have coastlines with coral reefs, and almost 500 million people — 8 percent of the world’s population — live within 100 kilometers of a reef. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at CO2 levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
Range: North Pacific Ocean coasts, ranging on the Pacific Rim from California to northern Japan
Steller’s sea lions were hunted for their meat and skin by prehistoric communities everywhere their range intersected with humans. Among pinnipeds, this sea lion is inferior in size only to the walrus and the two elephant seals. The species is named for naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, who first described them in 1741. The Steller sea lion has attracted considerable attention in recent decades due to significant, unexplained declines in the animal’s numbers over a large portion of its range in Alaska. Increases in ocean temperatures are having profound impacts on Arctic and sub-Arctic marine ecosystems inhabited by the Steller sea lion. Warmer waters are changing the productivity and community structure of forage fish. Sea-level rise will directly affect terrestrial rookery and haul-out sites currently used by Steller sea lions.
Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri)
Range: Eastern coastal Russia, Alaska, and the Bering Sea
The Steller’s eider is well prepared for life in the Arctic; it’s insulated with body fat and dense plumage to allow for migration along frigid coastlines each season. In the eider’s wintering grounds in the Bering Sea, decreasing sea-ice cover has reduced the abundance of the bird’s bottom-dwelling prey. Melting sea ice has also increased prospects for the expansion of bottom trawling and oil exploration in the Bering Sea, which would further deplete the eider’s food and pose oil spill risks. On the eider’s tundra breeding grounds, melting permafrost — the frozen layer of ground that prevents water from draining — may result in the drying of wetlands and the transformation of tundra to shrublands and forests.

The Center has a long history of protecting the Steller’s eider, with our most recent work focusing on keeping Big Oil out of its few remaining pristine habitats. In 2006, we blocked oil leasing in important eider habitat, and the next year, we successfully interrupted plans by Shell Oil to begin exploration near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Trumpet coral (Caulastrea echinulata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
A relatively hardy coral, the trumpet coral features densely packed polyps shaped like the horn of a trumpet. It varies in color but is most often grayish green, with stripes running outward along each polyp’s edge. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the trumpet coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea)
Range: North, Central, and South America
Unlike most owls, the burrowing owl doesn’t live in trees, and it’s not nocturnal. It makes its nest underground — usually in abandoned rodent burrows — and is active both day and night. Although the burrowing owl was once widespread, habitat destruction has reduced the western burrowing owl’s breeding populations by more than 60 percent. Much of the burrowing owl’s western habitat will become drier, and drought conditions will increase with global warming, which will likely lead to reduced food supply for the owl.

The Center and allies petitioned in 2003 to protect the California population of the owl under the California Endangered Species Act, but the state refused to list the owl based largely on an inaccurate, inconsistent report by the California Department of Fish and Game. Our efforts to combat urban sprawl throughout the Southwest and California will help preserve burrowing owl habitat.
Western gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica vanrossemi)
Range: Pacific Coast and lower Colorado delta region of Southern California and Mexico
The western gull-billed tern is a misunderstood predator whose population is perilously low, a result of constant assault from habitat destruction and poor management policies. Global climate change threatens the western gull-billed terns in several ways: loss of its coastal habitat due to sea-level rise and higher storm surges, increased storm frequency, and decreased prey availability due to rising ocean temperatures.

We recently filed suit to get gull-billed tern listed as a protected species, and in the process stopped a U.S. Fish and Wildlife plan to destroy gull-billed tern eggs.
Western moose (Alces alces andersoni)
Range: From northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan into western Ontario, west to central British Columbia, and north to the eastern Yukon and Northwest Territories
This subspecies of moose is particularly at risk in Isle Royale National Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where a plague of ticks, extremely hot summers, and hungry wolves — which are also in decline — have driven the moose population to its lowest point in at least 50 years.

During extremely hot summers, moose lose their appetites and seek shelter from the heat, putting them in a bad position to survive winter — since they depend on summer reserves from foraging to survive the coldest months. Warming also brings more moose ticks, which feed on moose, and a massive infestation has already developed in Isle Royale National Park. Making matters worse, warmer weather is also causing stress that makes moose more susceptible to parasites, particularly brainworm, a parasite spread by deer — and spread all the more easily when fewer deer are dying in warm winters. With a shortage of moose meat, wolves are consuming virtually everything else, and little is left for smaller predators and scavengers, like the fox and hare — affecting the entire ecosystem of the Upper Peninsula’s amazing national park.
Western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)
Range: Washington, Oregon, California, and Mexico
A small, unobtrusive bird, the western snowy plover is a year-round beach citizen and an integral part of the Pacific beach ecosystem. Heedless of this shy, pocket-sized shorebird, developers have made the open sandy beaches it favors a prime target for destructive projects; also, people’s beach activity often scares plovers away from their nests, leaving chicks and eggs vulnerable to both predators and the elements. Now, sea-level rise and increased storm surge events threaten to inundate the plover’s coastal breeding and foraging habitat; degrade the quality of habitat for foraging, nesting, and cover; and alter the types and availability of prey species.

In October 2008, the Center sued the Department of the Interior to force it to grant the plover the critical habitat it needs. We’ve also worked against plover-killing off-road vehicle use, pushed for oil-drilling restrictions in key habitat, petitioned for dog-leash laws in the bird’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area home, and published a report detailing the devastating effects of pesticide use on plovers.
White grape coral (Euphyllia cristata)
Range: Indo-West Pacific
White grape coral is a rare but conspicuous coral whose natural stock has been seriously depleted by the aquarium trade industry. The long, tubular tentacles of each polyp end in distinctly colored knobs, making the white grape an exceptionally attractive coral. Corals are among the species most threatened by greenhouse gas pollution. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million. Scientists have said that carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 ppm or below to protect corals.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 corals, including the white grape coral, under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
White-flippered penguin (Eudyptula albosignata albosignata)
Range: New Zealand
The white-flippered penguin is the only known nocturnal penguin. Like most penguins, this species has specific climate and habitat needs that are in jeopardy because of climate change. Rising sea waters and temperatures, combined with climate change-related food shortages, pose serious threats to this little penguin’s continued survival.

After the Center petitioned for 12 of the world’s most imperiled penguin species, the National Marine Fisheries Service declared that six of them — including the white-flippered penguin — deserved Endangered Species Act listing.
White-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura)
Range: Alpine regions from Alaska to New Mexico
The white-tailed ptarmigan is the smallest bird in the grouse family and the only bird in the alpine zone to remain there during winter instead of migrating. It has feathers around its nostrils, so the air it inhales is warmed before reaching its body. In winter, this bird is pure white except for a black beak and eyes, and its white feathers help camouflage it. In summer, it has a mottled and barred brown head, breast, and back with white wings, belly, and tail. Because white-tailed ptarmigan occupy patchy high-elevation alpine tundra habitats, rising temperatures may compress and fragment their alpine habitat as forested habitats move upward in elevation. Scientists have found that the growth of ptarmigan populations in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has decreased as winter minimum temperatures have increased, and that future warming is likely to accelerate declines in ptarmigan abundance.
Whooping crane (Grus americana)
Range: Only known remaining nesting location at Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada; breeding populations migrate south to winter along the Gulf Coast of Texas
The tallest North American bird, the whooping crane is also one of the rarest, largely thanks to habitat loss. One effort to save this amazing bird attempted to establish a new flyway by training young whooping cranes to follow ultralight aircraft. At one time, the range for these birds extended throughout the Midwest, but in 1941, the wild population consisted of just 21 birds. In early 2007, a disastrous storm killed all of the 2006 yearlings after their arrival in Florida. With global warming, the potential for these types of catastrophic events increases. What’s more, changes in precipitation that shrink the inland wetlands of the crane’s breeding ground would reduce the availability of quality nesting sites, reduce food availability, and allow predators to access nests and young. On the bird’s wintering grounds along the Texas coast, sea-level rise combined with land subsidence would reduce the suitability of salt marsh and open water areas for the cranes.

In 2009, the Center worked with local environmentalists in Nebraska to convince a utility to relocate a proposed wind tower outside the crane’s flyway.
Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Range: Northeastern United States and southeastern Canada
Not surprisingly, the wood turtle spends most of its time in wooded areas. It is, however, also semi-aquatic and dependent on streams, rivers, and ponds. A great escape artist and climber, this species has been known to systematically probe fenced-in areas to find a means of escape. In a series of maze experiments back in 1932, researchers concluded that the North American wood turtle had the learning capacity of a rat. Unfortunately, climate change may hurt wood turtles through increasing the frequency of flood events. Seasonal floods have been documented to displace northeastern wood turtles and cause higher mortality.

In 2009, the Center joined local groups in petitioning the Ohio governor, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Health to ban turtle harvesting in the state, whose northeastern corner is home to the wood turtle.
Xantus's murrelet (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus)
Range: Southern California coast to central Baja California, Mexico
Xantus’s murrelet is one of the rarest seabirds in the world, restricted to a handful of nesting islands off Southern California and Baja California. The introduction of nonnative predators to its island breeding homes decimated many populations. Increasing ocean temperatures, more intense El Niño events, and ocean acidification in the California Current marine ecosystem, which the murrelet calls home, threaten the food web the species depends on.

The Center was part of a coalition that successfully prevented a Chevron liquid natural gas terminal from opening near critical Xantus’s murrelet breeding grounds in Mexico.
Yellow scroll coral (Turbinaria reniformis)
Range: Oceans worldwide
This coral takes its name from its color and intricate design. It is typically a beautiful yellow-green with distinctly colored margins. Because yellow scroll coral has a restricted depth range, it is more susceptible to bleaching and disease. Due to warming ocean temperatures, corals are already suffering from frequent mass bleaching events that lead to widespread coral death and higher risk of disease. Ocean acidification is already hindering some corals from building their skeletons, and all corals are predicted to dissolve at carbon dioxide levels of 560 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In 2009, the Center filed a scientific petition to list 83 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming, including this species.
Yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
Range: Southern Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas; western yellow-billed cuckoo found west of mountain ranges forming eastern edge of the Rio Grande watershed
The yellow-billed cuckoo is a rare bird that has been almost entirely eradicated west of the Continental Divide. With as few as 40 breeding pairs remaining in California, the species is dangerously close to extinction. Climate change could well be the catalyst that pushes the yellow-billed cuckoo into oblivion. Western yellow-billed cuckoos require large patches (ideally 25 to 100 acres) of streamside willows and cottonwoods. Decreases in precipitation that threaten riparian habitats also threaten this species.

In 1998, the Center filed a scientific petition to earn endangered species protection for the cuckoo, which helped fund research into the genetic characteristics of the species — ultimately leading to a Fish and Wildlife Service determination that western cuckoos should be treated as a “distinct population segment.” In 2000, the Center and allies filed a suit to force a listing decision, and the next year the Service determined the cuckoo’s listing was “warranted but precluded” — meaning the bird’s federal protection would be put off.
Yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii)
Range: Northern Alaska, Canada, and Eurasia in summer; British Columbia to Baja, around Scandinavia, and along the Pacific coast of Siberia in winter
Ungainly on land, the yellow-billed loon moves with grace and ease through the water, diving in an instant with its large feet propelling it toward the lakebed in search of fish. An inhabitant of remote Arctic reaches, the yellow-billed loon nests in tundra wetlands in Alaska, Canada, and Russia. Already confronted with oil and gas drilling in its once isolated home, the yellow-billed loon now must also contend with climate change. The loon is threatened by flooding of its low-lying coastal wetland habitat in the face of warming temperatures and sea-level rise. Shorelines held up by permafrost are beginning to subside as permafrost melts, allowing the influx of salty ocean water into Arctic coastal wetlands and destroying the loon’s nesting areas.

The Center and allies petitioned to protect the loon under the Endangered Species Act. The yellow-billed loon was only made a “candidate” for protection.
Yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)
Range: New Zealand
The yellow-eyed penguin is native to New Zealand and is considered one of the rarest of the world’s penguins, with fewer than 4,000 individuals estimated to remain. Despite living in a habitat that’s usually devoid of snow and ice, yellow-eyed penguins are very sensitive to temperature changes and have specific climate requirements. Reduced prey availability due to warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean may further jeopardize this species.

The yellow-eyed penguin was proposed for federal protection in 2008 thanks to a Center petition and lawsuit, with climate change listed as one of the primary threats to the bird’s continued survival.
Yellow-footed wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus)
Range: South Australia, Western New Wales, Southwestern Queensland, Australia
Not to be confused with a kangaroo, the yellow-footed wallaby is a small hopping marsupial native to Australia. Like mountain goats of the northern hemisphere, the yellow-footed wallaby is perfectly suited to the rocky, mountainous habitat it calls home. Having nearly gone extinct in the 1970s, the species shows signs of recovery; however, with a population limited to between 300 to 400 individuals, the wallaby is still in danger.

Climate change would cause higher temperatures and lower humidity throughout the yellow-footed wallaby’s habitat, dramatically altering its natural environment and benefitting invasive species that compete for natural resources as well as preying on the wallaby directly. Climate change could also increase the length and severity of droughts and ensuing bushfires that would further reduce habitat range, causing major population decline.