CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.sw-center.org> 6-2-00 #239
FOXES, WHALES, SPIDERS, GOSHAWKS, AND LOBSTERS...
§ PETITION FILED TO PROTECT FOUR FOX SUBSPECIES
UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
§ COOK INLET BELUGA WHALE TO BE PROTECTED FROM
§ LOGGING PLAN ON 8 MILLION ACRES OF UT, CO, AND WY
FORESTS CHALLENGED TO PROTECT GOSHAWKS
§ TEXAS SPIDERS GOING EXTINCT, SUIT WILL SEEK PROTECTION
§ SUIT SPURS FEDERAL PROPOSAL TO CLOSE DECLINING
HAWAIIAN LOBSTER FISHERY
§ SUPPORT ROADLESS AREA PROTECTION: SEND EMAIL TODAY
PETITION FILED TO PROTECT FOUR FOX SUBSPECIES UNDER
THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
On 6-1-00, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Institute for
Wildlife Studies filed a formal petition to list the San Miguel Island
fox, Santa Cruz Island fox, Santa Rosa Island fox, and the San
Clemente Island fox as endangered species. They represent four
of the six subspecies of island fox which are endemic to southern
California's Channel Islands. Foxes thrived on the islands for 16,000
years, but within the past five have suffered cataclysmic declines.
The San Miguel Island population has dropped from 400 in 1994 to
just 15 in 1999. In desperation to stave off extinction, biologists
placed 14 of the foxes in protective pens, leaving just one in the
wild. Only five males remain in the entire subspecies. The Santa
Catalina Island fox declined by about 90% between 1998 and 1999.
The reason for the declines is not fully understood but includes
habitat loss do to overgrazing of livestock and game animals, canine
distemper transmitted by pet dogs, and heavy predation by golden
eagles. When bald eagles inhabited the Channel Islands, they
preyed on fish rather than mammals, and they prevented golden
eagles from nesting on the islands. With the extirpation of the bald
eagle due to DDT poisoning, golden eagles colonized the islands for
the first time, thriving on feral pigs. The eagles are now preying on
foxes which have not evolved effective defenses against them.
National Park Service and Institute for Wildlife Studies biologists
are translocating golden eagles to the mainland, reintroducing bald
eagles, and removing the feral pigs.
To see pictures of the island fox and to learn more:
COOK INLET BELUGA WHALE TO BE PROTECTED FROM
On 5-31-00, the National Marine Fisheries Service officially designated
the Cook Inlet beluga whale as a "depleted species" under the Marine
Mammal Protection Act. The designation comes in response to a
petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and others to list the
whale as an endangered species in March, 1999. The "depleted"
designation will likely lead to the eventual banning of all hunting
for the declining species.
The Cook Inlet beluga whale has declined from over 1,000 individuals
to about 350 in recent years. It is threatened by oil development,
commercial fishing, and discharge of urban and industrial wastes.
The Fisheries Service has issued an initial positive finding on the
listing petition, but has stalled in formally proposing the whale for
listing. In order to break the political gridlock, the Center and others
sued on 5-8-00, demanding that the Service rule on the petition
before the beluga declines even farther.
LOGGING PLAN ON 8 MILLION ACRES OF UT, CO, AND WY
FORESTS CHALLENGED TO PROTECT GOSHAWKS
On 5-22-00, the Center formally appealed a decision by the U.S.
Forest Service to continue logging goshawk habitat on 8.1 million
acre of forest in UT, CO, and WY. The appeal was joined by the
Wild Utah Forest Campaign, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance,
Maricopa Audubon Society, Southwest Forest Alliance, Willow
Creek Ecology and Citizens for the Protection of Logan Canyon.
In the name of "consistently managing" goshawk habitat in the
five Utah National Forests (including small portions of CO, and
WY), the Forest Service choose to adopt a nine year old, highly
controversial goshawk management plan. Though the plan is
long out of date, and has been roundly criticized by the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service, the Dept. of Interior, academic scientists,
state Game and Fish scientists, and even a Forest Service
scientist, the Utah National Forests chose to adopt it with no
response to the criticisms.
TEXAS SPIDERS GOING EXTINCT, SUIT WILL SEEK
On 5-30-00, the Center filed a formal notice of intent to sue
the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service for delaying federal protection
of nine Bexar County, Texas spiders:
Rhadine exilis (no common name)
Rhadine infernalis (no common name),
Batrisodes venyivi (Helotes mold beetle),
Texella cokendolpheri (Robber Baron Cave harvestman)
Cicurina baronia (Robber Baron cave spider),
Cicurina madla (Madla's cave spider),
Cicurina venii (no common name),
Cicurina vespera (vesper cave spider),
Neoleptoneta microps (Government Canyon cave spider)
All nine are cave spiders inhabiting karst features (limestone
formations containing caves, sinks, and fissures) near San
Antonio, Texas. Threats to the species and their habitat include
destruction and/or deterioration of habitat by construction, filling
of caves, loss of permeable cover, and contamination from septic
effluent, sewer leaks, runoff, and pesticides.
The spiders were the subject of a formal listing petition in 1992,
but as usual, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has bent to political
pressure and illegally delayed making a decision about their fate.
The agency is now 6 years overdue in listing the species.
SUIT SPURS FEDERAL PROPOSAL TO CLOSE DECLINING
HAWAIIAN LOBSTER FISHERY
Just a week after oral hearings in a lawsuit brought by the Greenpeace
Foundation, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Turtle Island
Restoration Network, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed
an emergency closure of the northwest Hawaiian lobster fishery on
4-28-00. The suit was filed on 1-26-00 to prevent the extinction of the
highly endangered Hawaiian monk seal which depends on the
lobsters for its sustenance. Monk seal pups are starving to death
even as lobster boats (which set up to 1,000 traps each night) remove
hundreds of thousands of spiny and slipper lobsters from the monk
seal's formally designated critical habitat each year.
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the world's most endangered marine
mammals. The plaintiffs are represented in the action by Paul Achitoff
of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund (Honolulu).
SUPPORT ROADLESS AREA PROTECTION: SEND EMAIL TODAY
On 5-9-00, the U.S. Forest Service issued a draft plan which was supposed
to protect the few remaining roadless areas left in the National Forest
system from logging. The plan, however, falls far short of the protections
necessary to protect watersheds and wildlife. The plan only prohibits road
building in inventoried roadless areas greater than 5,000 acres, does not
prohibit logging, ORV use, mining or livestock grazing. Many ecologically
important roadless areas have never been inventoried or are between 1,000
and 5,000 acres and thus are excluded from even this limited protection.
The plan also completely excludes the Tongass National Forest in Alaska,
which has more roadless areas than any other National Forest. In the next
five years, the Tongass plans to construct 564 miles of road and log 300
million board feet in roadless areas. This is two-thirds of their planned
cutting and half of the national total for cutting in roadless areas.
Feeling pressure as his less than stellar environmental record has
become the topic of public debate, Al Gore has promised to end all logging
in roadless areas. Why wait for the election? The Forest Service can do
it now. Visit our website to easily send an email to the Forest Service
demanding full protection of all roadless areas:
ENDANGERED TOTEMS. Eleven of the twelve western states have adopted
imperiled species as their state fish: New Mexico (Rio Grande cutthroat
trout), Arizona (Apache trout), Colorado (Greenback cutthroat trout), Utah
(Bonneville cutthroat trout), Nevada (Lahontan cutthroat trout), California
(Golden trout), Oregon (Chinook salmon), Washington (Steelhead trout),
Idaho, Montana and Wyoming (Cutthroat trout).
Kierán Suckling firstname.lastname@example.org
Science and Policy Director 520.623.5252 phone
Center for Biological Diversity 520.623.9797 fax
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> POB 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710