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BP Shoots, Kills Polar Bear in Alaska

Sad news broke this morning that a security guard at a BP oil-drilling operation in Alaska shot and killed a polar bear. The guard claims he thought he'd fired a bean-bag round to scare the female away, but instead it turned out to be a "cracker shell" that mortally wounded her. The bear was shot Aug. 3 and apparently died about two weeks later from internal injuries.

Polar bears were listed as a threatened species in 2008 after a petition and years of work by the Center for Biological Diversity. Last year, 120 million acres were designated as "critical habitat" for polar bears. Despite that, oil and gas development continues in the heart of polar bear habitat. Although there are rules about how to handle bears in those areas, today's news is a troubling reminder that bears often pay a price when fossil-fuel industries encroach on the last few places they have to live.

Read more in the Alaska Dispatch.

$20,000 Needed to Run Massive Overpopulation Video Ad

The world is closing in on a spooky milestone projected for Halloween: 7 billion people.

We have a unique opportunity to educate millions about the devastating impact of this population explosion on endangered species and habitats around the globe. But to do it, we need to raise $20,000 by Aug. 31. Please help by making a generous donation today.

Our video ad will run on a gigantic 520-square-foot screen in New York's Times Square, reaching 1 million people a day, every day, during the month of September.

We know these ads work -- we got a tremendous response for another one we ran earlier this summer. This time we're highlighting the catastrophe of 7 billion people crowding a small planet, driving other earthlings extinct, polluting the water and creating unsustainable living conditions.

We can't run the ad without your support, so please donate today if you can. . .and pass this request on. We need to raise $20,000 by next week.

New Arctic Drilling Approved as Walruses Suffer

Just as thousands of Pacific walruses were being forced onto land by global warming in Alaska, the Obama administration took another step toward approving dangerous, warming-worsening offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. Late last Thursday, under court order after a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, the Department of the Interior released a supplemental environmental review of plans to drill in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. But the new review still failed to acknowledge the huge gaps in knowledge about the drilling's effects on wildlife. In addition to its global warming impacts, drilling could lead to a catastrophic oil spill, which would be impossible to clean up in the Arctic.

Among Alaska's species most at risk from drilling is the imperiled Pacific walrus -- a species the Center has petitioned to protect under the Endangered Species Act. An estimated 8,000 walruses were forced to congregate on Chukchi beaches last week because the sea ice they need for resting is rapidly disappearing.

Check out our press release and learn more about Arctic oil development and the Pacific walrus.

2 Billion Pounds of Pesticides Too Many -- Take Action

More than 2 billion pounds of pesticides are sold each year for use in the United States, poisoning fish and amphibians -- not to mention the toxic effects on people and other wildlife. Yet right now, industry lobbyists are trying to persuade Congress to gut the Clean Water Act to allow unregulated pesticide applications in our water. Making matters worse, the Environmental Protection Agency is poised to approve the broad-scale application of pesticides into wetlands and waterways.

We need your help to stop it. Take action to stop poisonous pesticides.

Lawsuit Launched to Save Wolves From Leg Traps

To save the Southwest's few remaining wolves from needless suffering, the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a notice of intent to sue New Mexico over a decision to resume recreational trapping on the Gila National Forest, where endangered Mexican wolves live. A recent report disclosed that, since wolf reintroduction began in 1998 after Center action, five Mexican wolves have sustained injuries -- including some requiring foot and leg amputations -- and two other wolves have died as a result of trapping by private parties in the Gila National Forest.

With only 50 Mexican wolves in the wild, this animal can't afford any more losses or even injuries. We won't let New Mexico's Department of Game and Fish and State Game Commission allow trapping to harm wolves in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Read more in TriValley Central.

Hundreds Arrested Fighting Dirty Tar Sands, Risky Pipeline -- Help From Home

Since Aug. 20, more than 250 peaceful protesters have been arrested at a Washington, D.C., rally against the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands oil development. The Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile proposed pipeline, would transport tar sands oil -- the dirtiest petroleum fuel -- all the way from Canada to Texas, obliterating habitat for endangered species, exacerbating global warming and perpetuating our addiction to fossil fuels.

This disastrous project doesn't make sense on almost any level. So for two full weeks, thousands -- including the Center for Biological Diversity's Bill Snape, who took photos this weekend -- are convening in D.C. to protest the pipeline and all it stands for. This could be the biggest-ever act of civil disobedience in the fight against global warming; about 1,000 people are expected to be arrested before it ends on Sept. 3. Climate activist Bill McKibben has already been detained for simply standing outside the White House and asking the president to halt the pipeline.

Read this spot-on op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, attend the protest yourself and speak out with the Center to tell Obama it's past time to stop Keystone XL and start transitioning to clean energy.

Industry Suit Threatens California Fish's Protected Habitat

Southern California's rare Santa Ana sucker, designated as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, is now under fire from an industry lawsuit that aims to take away its critical habitat -- protected space hard-won by the Center for Biological Diversity. We filed suit twice to earn the 9,331 acres set aside for the fish last December (an increase from the original 8,305). But protections for many of the fish's precious remaining waterways could get in the way of development designs by Inland Empire cities and water agencies -- which sued to overturn those protections.

The Center and our own Ileene Anderson, also a member of the Santa Ana Sucker Conservation Team, have been working for more than a decade to save this big-lipped, olive-gray fish. "The important thing is the survival of this species, and for that we need to ensure that its critical habitat is protected," Anderson said. "If our participation in the suit looks necessary, we'll seek to intervene."

Watch Ileene on KABC-TV.

Center Offers Free Android App: Endangered Species Finder

Ever wonder which endangered species are nearby? Finding out is just a few finger-taps away. The Center for Biological Diversity rolled out our Species Finder on Monday -- a new, free app for Android phones that allows users to find threatened and endangered species wherever they are –- or anywhere else in the country.

Species Finder provides instant county-by-county access to information on more than 1,000 species across the United States. The app also includes access to breaking news, the latest actions to help endangered species and a link to our popular endangered species ringtones, which have already been downloaded more than 470,000 times.

The free app, developed by Adam Lessey and the Center, is ideal for those looking to connect with endangered plants and animals where they live or travelers eager to find out about species far from home.

You can download Species Finder on our Web page or at the Droid Marketplace.

Biodiversity Briefing on 757 Species: Listen In

The Center for Biological Diversity's historic settlement to push 757 imperiled species toward protection is already yielding results. In the six weeks since the agreement was signed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put 30 species on track for Endangered Species Act protection. That includes 23 species in Hawaii and emergency protection for one of the rarest butterflies in the nation: the Miami blue.

The landmark agreement was the focus of the most recent Biodiversity Briefing by Executive Director Kierán Suckling. The briefing told the story behind the agreement and also looked at what may be in store for the federal species-protection program and what role the Center plans to play in ensuring rare creatures get the Endangered Species Act safeguards they need to survive in a changing world.

Listen to the briefing here. For information on how you can join the Center's Leadership Circle and be invited to participate in Biodiversity Briefings live when they happen, email Assistant Executive Director Sarah Bergman or call her at (520) 396-1129.

Wild & Weird: Obfuscating Octopi, Camouflaging Cuttlefish -- Watch Cool Video

Cephalopods like octopi, squids and cuttlefish have some pretty cool tricks for camouflaging themselves in their underwater digs. With specialized skin cells, they can change the color, patterns and even shape of their body surface.

But never have these masters of illusion been caught on tape quite so entertainingly (and, OK, informatively) as in a new underwater video by marine biologist Robert Hanlon documenting his top picks of sea creatures going in and out of hiding. Hanlon says he screamed when he captured the first shot -- so prepare to be amazed.

Watch the video and learn about the Center for Biological Diversity's work to save our oceans.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: polar bear by Suzanne Miller, USFWS; polar bear courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Alan D. Wilson; Times Square; Pacific walrus by Joel Garlich Miller, USFWS; Tehachapi slender salamander (c) Gary Naphis,; Mexican wolf by Jim Clark, USFWS; tar sands rally courtesy Flickr/tarsandsaction; Santa Ana sucker by Paul Barrett, USFWS; Species Finder app; Miami blue butterfly by Jaret C. Daniels, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Biodiversity; common octopus.

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