Get 10 Friends to Help the Polar Bear Today
The Center for Biological Diversity just won a lawsuit forcing the Bush administration to finally decide whether to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act by May 15, 2008 -- with the decision to be effective immediately. This will be one of the most important conservation decisions in history.
The polar bear, in dire straights due to global warming and the threat of oil and gas exploration, needs all the support it can get, and we've written a petition so that you can help us pressure the administration to make the right choice. Besides signing it yourself, it's crucial that you forward the petition to 10 friends -- the more people behind the polar bear, the better.
Sign our petition here and -- in case you didn't hear us -- forward it to 10 friends now.
Bush Abandons Jaguar, Center Hauls Him Into Court
To compel the government to protect the elusive, endangered jaguar and its border habitat, on Wednesday the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for deciding that a recovery plan wouldn't benefit the species. This decision, issued as a "finding" in January, was signed four months after the Service effectively gave the go-ahead for constructing the wall now in the works along the U.S.-Mexico border -- straight through prime jaguar stomping grounds.
Thanks to habitat loss and persecution, the jaguar was all but eliminated from the United States and is just beginning to expand northward from Mexico back into the American Southwest. Construction of the border wall will ensure that the species never reclaims its northern range. With our suit, the Center intends to force the development of a recovery plan for this majestic predator, as well as federal protection for its habitat.
Read more in the Business Journal of Phoenix.
Court Asked to Stop Southwest Wolf Slaughter
The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and other groups have just legally challenged the administration to step up to the plate for the endangered Mexican gray wolf. Specifically, our lawsuit objects to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's choice to give up control of the wolf's reintroduction into the wild -- leaving its recovery to agencies that have allowed wolf killings to rise while populations decline. Our suit also challenges approval of a rule requiring the immediate removal -- often by death -- of any wolf known or even suspected to have preyed on three domestic animals within a year.
With just 52 individuals left in the wild, every Mexican gray wolf is important. The species needs help -- not more persecution.
Learn details in our press release.
Mono Basin Sage Grouse Moves Closer to Protection
This week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will consider giving federal protection to a unique and isolated population of greater sage grouse living in and near California and Nevada's Mono Basin. The Mono Basin sage grouse, while biologically different from other greater sage grouse, has the same habitat needs and performs the same riveting mating displays that give the species as a whole its nationwide fame. Unfortunately, Mono Basin area birds now number fewer than 5,000 and are dwindling fast due to livestock grazing, off-road vehicles, development, invasive species, and a host of other threats to their habitat.
The Fish and Wildlife Service's announcement stems from a 2007 petition brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sagebrush Sea Campaign, the Western Watersheds Project, and Christians Caring for Creation.
Learn more in our press release.
Administration Proposes Oil and Gas Development on 1.7 Million Nevada Acres
In one of its recent assaults on our country's communal terrain, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed to open 1.7 million acres of Nevada public lands to oil and gas development. Defying the law, the agency acknowledged neither the climate impacts of the proposed development's greenhouse gas emissions nor the huge amount of area-produced oil and gas the new development would consume. Imperiled Nevada species like the Lahontan cutthroat trout, which could be devastated by reduced stream flows and warmed water, are very much at risk due to climate change -- not to mention species worldwide, from penguins to humans.
On Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments urging the Bureau to trash the proposal.
Read more in our press release.
Hinkley Residents Halt Open-air Stink Factory
Community activists in Hinkley, California -- the town made famous in the movie Erin Brockovich for its case about local water-supply contamination -- secured an environmental victory this week in a brand-new legal case. Brought by HelpHinkley.org and the Center for Biological Diversity, the case asserted that San Bernardino County shouldn't have approved an open-air sludge compost facility near (and upwind of) the town without taking proper steps to protect the environment and human health. What steps, one might ask? Well, enclosing the facility, for starters.
The ruling judge agreed, declaring that the county must conduct further environmental review and consider the feasibility of enclosure. Hinkleyans are hopeful that the county will pull the plug on the facility.
Read more in our press release.
New Evidence Proves Feds Ignored Environment for Border Wall
Just-obtained documents reveal that the Department of Homeland Security snubbed warnings of damage to the San Pedro River before deciding that environmental laws shouldn't hinder construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The documents, released in April by the Bureau of Land Management, caution that a barrier across the San Pedro River Conservation Area would result in significant debris build-up and other harmful impacts to the river and its flow. Yet last October, when Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff exempted the wall from all environmental laws, he asserted that he and the Bureau agreed that "the project would not result in significant impacts to the environment."
Not surprisingly, concern is mounting over the future of the delicate San Pedro ecosystem and the numerous imperiled species it supports, from the jaguar to the Gila chub.
Get details in the Arizona Daily Star.
Learn more about the San Pedro on our Web page.
Narwhals vs. Polar Bears -- Who Takes the Title?
We hope you're sitting down, polar bear activists: the great white bear may not be the Arctic animal most endangered by global warming. No, says research published last week in Ecological Applications, that would be the narwhal, the Arctic whale whose horn inspired the myth of unicorns. The polar bear comes in a close second in the study's list of the top 11 climate change-threatened Arctic marine mammals. But the competition to be the first Arctic species driven extinct by global warming is a race with no real winners.
The important point made by the recent study is not the question of what Arctic species is "most endangered," but rather that every marine mammal in the Arctic is imperiled by global warming. Unless we take action to stop the Arctic meltdown, we stand to lose not just the polar bear and the narwhal, but the walrus, ribbon seal, and a host of other species as well.
So, who's the most endangered by global warming? The jury's still out. Hopefully a verdict will never be reached. Who's cuter, the polar bear or the narwhal? We think it's a tie.
Read more in the Arizona Daily Star and check out this podcast about the narwhal study.
Photo credits: polar bears by Pete Spruance; jaguar and San Pedro River by Robin Silver; Mexican gray wolves by Van Halstead, Wolf Haven International; greater sage grouse by Carol Davis; oil field by Los Padres Forest Watch; Hinkley rally courtesy of HelpHinkley.org; narwhals courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Black Stripe.
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