Mexican Wolves Having More Pups, Despite Obama Wolf Policies
One of the most endangered mammals on the continent, the Mexican gray wolf was pulled from the wild for captive breeding in the late '70s, with only five animals surviving. But this month, 14 years after a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit reintroduced wolves to the Southwest, a new count shows the wild population has reached 58 individuals, with six breeding pairs.
That means Mexican wolf numbers have grown for two years running, a small but necessary increase for this persecuted predator -- no thanks to the Obama administration, which has dragged its feet on wolf release. (The increase comes mostly from pups born in the wild; only two out of dozens of release-eligible wolves in captivity were released in 2011.) And 58 wolves are still far fewer than earlier projected: There were supposed to be 102 individual wolves, including 18 breeding pairs, in the wild by 2006.
Read more in The Arizona Republic.
House Committee Approves Dangerous Keystone Bill -- Take Action
House Republicans hell-bent on ramming through the Keystone XL pipeline passed a bill in committee on Tuesday requiring permits to be issued for the project in 30 days. The bill, which would reverse President Barack Obama's rejection of this dangerous project earlier this year, could go before the full U.S. House of Representatives any day.
We knew the fight over the 1,700-mile pipeline wouldn't end with Obama's decision, but this latest move makes it crystal-clear the threat is still urgent. Keystone XL would be a disaster on many fronts, worsening climate change, threatening pristine waters and landscapes with oil spills, cutting through wildlife habitat and furthering destruction of Canada's forests where tar-sands oil is extracted.
If you live in a state with Democrat or moderate-Republican senators, take action to oppose the legislation, and we'll continue to keep you updated on ways you can help make sure Keystone XL never gets built. Read our press release and check out our Keystone XL Web page for more information.
Atlantic Sturgeon Gets U.S. Safeguards
After petitions by the Biodiversity Legal Foundation -- which later merged with the Center for Biological Diversity -- and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service just announced Endangered Species Act protection for five unique populations of the Atlantic sturgeon. This ancient, bony-backed fish can reach 60 years of age, grow to 14 feet in length and weigh more than 800 pounds. But overfishing has dramatically reduced its numbers, and while for some time it's been illegal to catch these sturgeon, they still often get caught in nets by accident. They also have to contend with dams blocking the way to their spawning areas, water pollution that hurts larvae and young fish, and boat strikes.
"Atlantic sturgeons definitely warrant protections," said the Center's Endangered Species Director Noah Greenwald. "Their decline is part of a larger problem with the loss and extinction of freshwater species. There are 24 species of sturgeon worldwide -- almost all endangered."
Get more from the Environment News Service.
California Protects Declining Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs
With more than 75 percent of California's high-elevation frog populations gone, we welcomed news that both the Sierra and Southern mountain yellow-legged frogs are getting state protection.
Once plentiful in high-elevation lakes in California, today the frogs are rare owing to stocking of nonnative trout in mountain lakes and streams that formerly had no aquatic predators. Pesticides that drift from farmlands are also a threat -- contaminants can leave frogs vulnerable to disease or kill them outright.
Thankfully, after a Center for Biological Diversity petition, the California Fish and Game Commission last week voted unanimously to protect both frogs under the state Endangered Species Act. The Sierra Nevada population is on track for federal protection, too, under our landmark 2011 settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to speed decisions on 757 species. Center efforts have also changed California's trout-stocking program; the state now has a policy to cease fish stocking and remove nonnative trout from core yellow-legged-frog areas.
Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Amazing Video: 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds
For a quick animation of how the globe has warmed since Industrial Revolution times, you can now watch a simple video from NASA that collapses the story into less than half a minute.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting global warming for many years on many fronts, from protecting polar bears to stopping offshore oil drilling and calling on cities to push our leaders to act now to help the Clean Air Act reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.
See the impressive force of what we're up against in the 131-years-of-climate-change-in-26-seconds video. Then read about our Climate Law Institute and take action to get your city to pass a resolution telling President Obama: Help us stop climate change before it's too late.
U.S. and Canada Groups Seek to Stop B.C. Fish Farms From Killing Wild Salmon
The Center for Biological Diversity and our Canadian allies filed a petition Tuesday requesting an international investigation into Canada's failure to protect wild salmon in British Columbia from industrial fish feedlots that pose a huge threat to native fish. Canada has allowed more than 100 of these fish farms to operate open net-cage salmon pens on wild salmon migration routes, exposing native fish to parasites, deadly diseases, toxic chemicals and concentrated farm waste -- not to mention the fact that escaped hatchery fish contaminate the native gene pool. British Columbia's fish feedlots are linked to dramatic wild salmon declines and a lethal salmon virus.
Our petition, submitted under the North American Free Trade Agreement, seeks enforcement of Canada's Fisheries Act -- before it's too late for wild salmon. "Applying the Fisheries Act to fish feedlots will benefit wild fish and the economy of British Columbia," said the Center's Jeff Miller. "Moving to contained aquaculture on land will benefit areas starved for employment and clean up the rivers to restore wild salmon runs."
Read our press release and check out our new Fish Farms Web page.
Biodiversity Briefing: Our 2012 Priorities
2012 will be another action-packed year for the Center for Biological Diversity. In a recent quarterly phone "Biodiversity Briefing" to the Center's top donors, Executive Director Kierán Suckling highlighted 10 of our top priorities for the coming year.
We'll be defending the Endangered Species Act from far-right attacks; ensuring our historic agreement affecting 757 species is upheld; pushing for healthy, growing populations of wild wolves on the West Coast; fighting for polar bears and against global warming; ramping up our ocean acidification campaign and our high-profile overpopulation initiative; and expanding our work to take poisons like pesticides and lead out of the path of wildlife.
Listen to a recording of Kierán's initial briefing. These personal phone briefings, including question and answer sessions, are open to all members of the Center's Leadership Circle and Legacy Society. For information on how to join and be invited to participate live when the calls happen, email Major Gifts Associate Julie Ragland or call her at (520) 623-5252 x 304.
Film Examines Unsolved Bombing of Earth First! Activist
May 24 will mark the 22nd anniversary of the pipe bomb that ripped through the car of Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney in Oakland, Calif., as they drove toward an event focused on saving Northern California's ancient redwood trees. The bomber was never arrested; instead, the FBI actually blamed Earth First! Bari sued the FBI for civil-rights and constitutional violations and won a landmark case in federal court in 2002 -- but the victory came five years after her death from breast cancer.
Bari was an inspiration to her colleagues in the environmental, labor and social-justice movements. Now a younger generation of activists can be moved by her story in the new documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari? The film, which features archival footage and Judi telling her own story, will debut on March 2 in San Francisco and March 4 in Washington, D.C.
Learn more about the film and upcoming screenings on our Events page.
Wild & Weird: Close Encounters of the Gorilla Kind -- Watch a Video
Only about 800 wild mountain gorillas exist in the world, but recently tourist John King, a wildlife photographer, got to meet some up close and personal -- and it was caught on video. A gorilla troop, led by its huge, alpha-male silverback, turned the ecotourism tables when they swaggered into a tent camp in Uganda one morning. Gorilla babies and the silverback sat right down behind King, inspecting and grooming him at their leisure until they decided to move on.
Such encounters are rare -- and for the gorillas' sake, they need to remain so. Almost half the world's population of mountain gorillas live in the protected area at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where this video was filmed. So it's crucial to keep these human-habituated animals safe from human disease and other threats.
Watch the viral video.
Photo credits: mountain yellow-legged frog courtesy USFWS/Rick Kuyper; Mexican gray wolf courtesy USFWS/Jim Clark; Keystone pipeline courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/shannonpatrick; Atlantic sturgeon courtesy USFWS; mountain yellow-legged frog courtesy USGS/Adam Backlin; global warming video courtesy NASA; chinook salmon courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Josh Larios; polar bear courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ansgar Walk; Judi Bari by Xiang Xiang Zhou (c) San Francisco Daily Journal; gorilla video courtesy youtube/Zegrahm Expeditions.
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