Judge Approves Landmark Settlement to Save 757 Species
It's official -- and legally binding: The Center for Biological Diversity's landmark 757-species settlement now compels the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make decisions on protections for each of the most imperiled, least protected animals and plants covered in the agreement. The deal covers species in all 50 states, including the American wolverine, Pacific walrus, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, sage grouse and Mexican gray wolf. All told, it affects 26 birds, 67 fish, 22 reptiles, 33 amphibians, 197 plants and 381 invertebrates.
And since the agreement was first reached in July, dozens of species have already been moved toward -- or received -- the Endangered Species Act protections they need to survive. That includes 23 Hawaiian species, five southeastern fish and one of the country's rarest butterflies, the Miami blue.
Get more from ABC News and check out our website detailing the hundreds of species-saving decisions due (and already made). If you want to celebrate the judge's decision and the Center's hard-won agreement, write a letter to your local paper using our take-action toolbox.
35 Springsnails Slide Toward Safeguards
In response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies -- and in accordance with the Center's 757-species agreement -- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed to protect 35 rare springsnails under the Endangered Species Act. Hailing from watersheds across the Great Basin in California, Nevada and Utah, all 35 springsnail species are imperiled by one looming threat: a 306-mile proposed pipeline that would haul nearly 60 billion gallons of water per year from rural Nevada and Utah to thirsty Las Vegas developments. The pipeline could dry up springs that support the snails and countless other species; its proponent's own environmental analysis found that the project threatens 305 springs, 112 miles of streams, 8,000 acres of wetlands and 191,506 acres of shrubland wildlife habitat.
"Endangered Species Act protection is the only hope for saving these springsnails, which are an important part of the natural heritage of the Great Basin. Saving the springsnails would also save habitat for many other plants and animals in Nevada, Utah and California," said the Center's Tierra Curry.
Read more in our press release.
Arctic's Summer Sea Ice Hits New Low
Another summer passing, another scary new summer sea-ice low: Scientists at the University of Bremen announced Friday that this year, the Arctic's summer sea ice reached its minimum extent since it was first recorded in 1972. And that's a mighty measly minimum -- in fact, researchers reported, summer sea ice has retreated by 50 percent since that first year, and further declines are expected even this month. The news of record sea-ice loss comes just after the announcement that this summer was the second-hottest on record since 1895.
The Arctic's imperiled species are feeling the heat: In August, about 8,000 Pacific walruses had to haul out on land in Alaska -- facing deadly threats like trampling and predators -- because the sea ice they need for resting was gone. Polar bears and seals are suffering as global warming melts their icy habitat. And with the wave of climate change-related natural disasters that has stuck the globe this year, people are suffering too.
Read more in The Guardian and get the latest evidence that climate change is here now on the Center for Biological Diversity's website plus what you can help do to combat climate change.
Agreement on Illegal Fishing to Help Bluefin, Other Species
The United States and the European Commission have signed a joint statement vowing to fight illegal fishing that hurts Atlantic bluefin tuna and other imperiled ocean creatures. The agreement -- while only a small step against the devastating environmental and socioeconomic effects of black-market seafood -- at least acknowledges the problem and affirms a commitment to ending the lax fishing-regulation enforcement that has devastated many species. Bluefin tuna, for example -- one of the most unique, massive and majestic fish in the sea -- are declining so dramatically due to illegal harvest that their fishery could collapse as early as next year.
Besides petitioning to protect the Atlantic bluefin under the Endangered Species Act, the Center for Biological Diversity is leading a global pledge by consumers and restaurateurs not to eat or serve imperiled bluefin.
Read more in our press release, take action today by signing our Bluefin Boycott and like us on Facebook for the latest news.
Thousands (and Counting) Join 7 Billion and Counting Campaign
The Center for Biological Diversity got an impressive response to last week's launch of our 7 Billion and Counting campaign. The global human population is expected to hit 7 billion by the end of October, and we're ramping up efforts to get the word out about how this unsustainable growth is pushing more and more plants and animals toward extinction.
We're urging volunteers around the country to hold population events and get the conversation started where they live; we've got an interactive map to help people spy species in their area. We're also giving away 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms and looking for volunteer distributors in all 50 states to help this October. Sign up today to be in the running for this round of condom giveaways. Supplies are limited so we can keep these free to the public, of course, but we're already looking for more funding so we can give away more later this year.
Learn about our exciting new 7 Billion and Counting campaign, check out the interactive species map, sign up to be a condom distributor here, join hundreds of other activists on our 7 Billion Facebook page and then subscribe to Pop X, our free online newsletter about overpopulation and species extinction.
Border Species, Wildlands Threatened by New Legislation
A new bill from Arizona Sen. John McCain would give border patrol agencies free rein on all federal lands within 100 miles of the U.S-Mexico border. That means they'd be exempt from bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. McCain's harmful and unnecessary legislation came Wednesday as an amendment tacked on to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.
"Politicians are playing games with important border-security legislation at the expense of laws that protect clean air, water and endangered species," said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The losers will be jaguars, ocelots, Sonoran pronghorn and residents of border communities."
Check out our press release and learn about the Center's campaign to protect borderlands and boundary waters.
Tea Party Congressman Pushes Public-lands Destruction
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) has declared he'll fell the first tree in a vigilante logging scheme for New Mexico's beautiful Lincoln National Forest, home of the endangered Mexican spotted owl. Pearce has been plotting with Otero County officials to start logging near the town of Cloudcroft on Sept. 17 ("Lumberjack Day") -- ignoring the fact that public lands are under the management of the U.S. Forest Service for the benefit of us all and cannot be logged except under their authority. A last-minute agreement between the Forest Service and the county appears to have taken the steam out of the vigilante logging, but other lands remain at risk.
In fact, Pearce has been calling on counties in general to illegally seize and exploit public lands. Last month, just a week after he stated in a press release that county sheriffs would not enforce federal policy protecting the Gila National Forest from off-road vehicles and other activities, Catron County bulldozed 13.5 miles of the forest's San Francisco River. The river is federally protected "critical habitat" for the tiny, imperiled loach minnow -- protections hard won for the fish after two Center for Biological Diversity lawsuits.
Read more about "Tea Party rock star" Pearce in our press release and in the Summit County Citizens' Voice.
Mexico to Release Five Wolves Near Arizona
In other borderlands news, U.S. wildlife officials just learned that Mexico will soon release five captive-bred Mexican gray wolves in the state of Sonora -- possibly within a wolf's walking distance of Arizona and New Mexico. The release, long delayed after its first proposal in 2009, is "extraordinarily good news" for the endangered canine's recovery in both the United States and Mexico, said the Center for Biological Diversity's Michael Robinson. In fact, he says, "It's hard to conceive of recovery actually taking place without a population of wolves sustaining itself in Mexico and being connected to those in the United States."
The Center has been defending Mexican gray wolves in the United States since 1990, when we filed the lawsuit that spurred the endangered canine's release into portions of its historic range in the Southwest.
Read more in the Houston Chronicle.
Join Global Movement Against Global Warming
On Saturday, Sept. 24, you can get moving both politically and literally with the Center for Biological Diversity by taking part in Moving Planet, an international day of action to move our planet beyond dangerous, dirty fossil fuels. The Center, 350.org and thousands of other groups and individuals around the world will be gathering at a variety of events with a single goal: to show our leaders we need to turn away from fossil fuels and move toward a safe atmospheric CO2 concentration of 350 parts per million or below.
If you're in San Francisco, dress up as your favorite warming-threatened animal (or plant) and march down Market Street with our staff to promote saving species, habitat and humans from the climate crisis. If you happen to be in Tucson, join our Arizona office in taking part in Connect 2 Tucson, a bike ride and rally celebrating the clean, healthy future we can reach by shifting to car-free transportation.
Wherever you live -- and whether you prefer marching, biking or some other sustainable movement method -- get in on the day of action at the Moving Planet website or the Center's Events page.
Wild & Weird: Drunk Moose Left High But Not Dry
Ever gotten a bit tipsy and later regretted reaching for that last . . . rancid apple?
In Scandinavia last week, a female moose must have had some regrets of her own after apparently getting "severely drunk" off fermented apples and clambering into a tree to reach for more of the intoxicating treats. With her lanky, hoofed legs and lack of opposable thumbs, the unhappy ungulate became hopelessly entangled in tree limbs and had to be rescued by local firefighters -- who bent the tree over so that the moose could slide down and slump onto the ground to sleep it off.
According to the local Swede who found the treed moose bellowing in his neighbor's yard, her species is often seen lurching around with a cider buzz in early fall (the time of rancid appletinis). 'Tis the season.
Get more from CNN.
Photo credits: Miami blue butterfly by Jaret C. Daniels, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Biodiversity; springsnail habitat courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Stan Shebs under the GNU free documentation license; polar bear (c) David S. Isenberg; bluefin tuna courtesy NoAA; 7 Billion and Counting logo; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Pascal Blanchier; Mexican spotted owl (c) Robin Silver; Mexican gray wolf by Jim Clark, USFWS; smokestacks courtesy NASA; moose courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Veronica Ronkos.
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