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Woodland Caribou to Win 375,000 Protected Acres

More than 375,000 acres have just been proposed in Idaho and Washington as protected habitat for the endangered woodland caribou. The decision is the result of a petition and an Endangered Species Act lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and partners to save the remaining caribou in the Selkirk Mountains. Woodland caribou once roamed the lower 48 states by the thousands, but now the last, remnant herd south of Canada numbers around 45.

This majestic mammal can weigh up to 600 pounds and has strong, massive hooves that grow to the size of dinner plates come winter. Lately its home has been damaged and fragmented by logging, roads and snowmobiles. Just in time for the holidays, our hard-won "critical habitat" proposal is giving this reindeer relative new lease on life.

Read more in the

Petition Filed to Save Emperor Penguins

You know those penguins struggling against global warming in Happy Feet 2? Well, emperor penguins are in deep trouble in the real world too, and their happy Hollywood ending depends not on their dancing prowess but on us: We need to take swift action on the global climate crisis. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity filed a scientific petition this week to get Endangered Species Act protection for the largest, most ice-dependent penguin in the world. Threatened by sea-ice melt and reduced food availability, emperors are declining so fast that some entire colonies have already disappeared.

In 2006, the Center petitioned to protect 12 penguin species, including the emperor. The Interior Department protected seven of those species, but not this one. Our latest petition presents new information on the imminent peril of this penguin.

Read more in our press release and learn about our campaign for penguins.

Canada Called Out for Refusing Help to Polar Bears

Without help, more than two-thirds of the planet's polar bears will be gone by 2050. But now Canada -- home to most of them -- has officially declined to give that help, designating the bear as a mere "species of special concern" under Canadian law.

So the Center for Biological Diversity -- which wrote the petition earning the polar bear "threatened" status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act -- is calling the country's government to account. We filed a challenge Wednesday with a NAFTA commission established to make sure the three signatory countries comply with their own environmental laws.

"Canada is willfully ignoring the deep trouble that polar bears are already in and the likely extinction they face without rapid cuts in greenhouse emissions," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center's Climate Law Institute. "Time is running out for the world's polar bears. They deserve real protection now."

Check out our press release and learn more about our long fight for these beautiful bears.

Appeal Filed to Stop Shell Drilling in Arctic

In defense of the fragile, remote waters of the Arctic Ocean -- and the unique creatures that call them home -- the Center for Biological Diversity and a coalition of allies on Monday appealed the air-pollution permit allowing Shell Oil's Kulluk fleet to drill there. The move comes just a month after we filed a similar appeal over Shell's planned Discoverer ship drilling.

Each year, the Kulluk fleet would spew out 200 tons of carbon monoxide, 240 tons of nitrogen dioxides and 80,000 tons of carbon dioxide -- roughly doubling the amount of global warming pollution produced by all of Alaska's North Slope Borough households. Yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency green-lighted air-pollution permits for the drilling fleet, which could move forward as early as next summer. And of course, Arctic drilling not only exacerbates global warming in an area hit hard by climate change, it also risks a catastrophic spill that would be impossible to clean up, endangering polar bears, walruses, whales and seals.

Get more from the Associated Press and take action to tell President Obama to keep Big Oil out of the Arctic.

New Report Debunks Claims That Tiny Lizard Will Kill Big Oil

Big Oil and Gas has been getting increasingly hysterical in its opposition to needed protections for the Southwest's tiny, vanishing dunes sagebrush lizard. A new report from the Center for Biological Diversity knocks down false claims that protecting the lizard would be "catastrophic" for oil and gas development, and hence jobs, in Texas and New Mexico. The fact is, the lizard's habitat takes up a measly 2 percent of all lands in the area's Permian Basin.

The Center petitioned to safeguard the lizard under the Endangered Species Act in 2002. It was finally proposed for protection last year, which put politicians like New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce in a tizzy. This slim, sandy reptile needs protection now, before it's too late. Just this morning, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caved to political pressure by delaying its decision on whether the lizard will finally get the help it needs.

Get more from our press release and learn about our work to protect the lizard.

21,000 Speak Out Against Las Vegas Water Grab

More than 21,000 people this week sent a resounding message to water managers in Nevada: Don't suck badly needed water from rural Nevada and Utah to feed unsustainable growth in Las Vegas. The Center for Biological Diversity, which has been fighting the massive pipeline, coordinated the comments to the state engineer's office. If approved, the project would siphon 57 million gallons of water per year away from eastern Nevada and western Utah to fuel urban growth in southern Nevada, unleashing vast environmental, economic and social harm.

But thanks to your comments, we have a better chance of stopping the pipeline from destroying rural communities, altering more than 200,000 acres of wildlands -- including precious wetlands -- and damaging 300 springs and 120 miles of streams, spelling disaster for endangered fish like the tiny, olive-yellow Moapa dace.

Read more in our press release.

Appeal Challenges Grand Canyon Uranium Mine  -- Thanks for Your Help

On Monday the Center for Biollogical Diversity and allies appealed a lower court ruling saying it was OK for the Bureau of Land Management to allow the Arizona 1 uranium mine to reopen without first updating 23-year-old plans and environmental reviews. Located just north of Grand Canyon National Park, the mine reopened in 2009 after having been shuttered in 1992 because it lacked new federal reviews -- a gambit we then challenged in court.

The Arizona 1 mine lies within the million-acre area that's just been proposed by the Obama administration for a 20-year ban on all new mining claims, as well as existing claims lacking valid rights, such as -- ahem -- said Arizona 1.

The Center wants to thank our supporters for your generous financial backing -- and online activism. Your help has fueled our fight to defend one of our country's most amazing natural wonders and all its species, from condors and humpback chubs to endemic albino eyeless cave-limited millipedes.

Read more in Cronkite News and check out the Center's Grand Canyon uranium mining campaign.

Take Action for Tuna on Bluefin Boycott Anniversary

One year ago, the Center for Biological Diversity launched our groundbreaking Bluefin Boycott campaign to turn the tide on bluefin tuna extinction. We had an amazing response: More than 25,000 people have signed the pledge not to eat bluefin or spend their money at restaurants that serve it. Bluefin need your help now more than ever, so if you haven't yet, please sign the pledge along with thousands of others -- from more than 100 countries -- that care about this amazing species.

Bluefin tuna are among the ocean's most remarkable creatures -- warm-blooded, massive fish renowned for their strength and speed -- but overfishing is killing them. Many sushi restaurants continue to serve the species as a high-end dish. When you join the Bluefin Brigade and pledge not to eat bluefin, we'll raise awareness of the great fish's plight and help shut down consumer demand.

Take action now to help save the bluefin tuna; share the pledge on Facebook to keep it off our plates. Then visit the website on our boycott campaign, where you can see our new map showing all the restaurants who care enough not to serve this magnificent fish.

Wild & Weird: Newly Found Orchid Joins World of Night Bloomers

For some plants, nighttime is the right time for strutting their stuff. Such is the case for a newly discovered orchid found growing on a volcanic island in the South Pacific. Bulbophyllum nocturnum is apparently the first orchid known to bloom at night. Scientists found the flower typically opened up around 10 p.m. and withered and died about 12 hours later.

No one knows why the orchid blooms by the light of the moon, but we do know it joins other nocturnal plants sporting some of the best names in the biz, including the midnight horror tree, queen of the night cactus and corpse flower

Get more from MSNBC.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: emperor penguin courtesy Flickr Commons/ianduffy; woodland caribou by Jon Nickles, USFWS; emperor penguin; polar bear courtesy Flickr Commons/longhorndave; ribbon seal by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA; dunes sagebrush lizard courtesy USFWS; Maopa dace courtesy USFWS; Grand Canyon Wikimedia Commons/Drenaline; bluefin tuna courtesy NOAA; moon courtesy Flickr Commons/jurvetson.

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