Rare Southwest Frog Wins 10,000 Protected Acres
More than 10,000 acres of habitat were just protected for one of the Southwest's coolest amphibians, the Chiricahua leopard frog. Known for its snore-like croak and bright green back, spotted with black, the Chiricahua leopard frog declined because of destruction of wetlands, introduction of nonnative bullfrogs and a frog-killing pathogen known as chytrid fungus. Once known to exist at more than 400 sites in Arizona and New Mexico, today it survives in just 80.
But the frog earned an important victory this week when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected 10,346 acres for its "critical habitat," a designation that will vastly improve the frog's odds.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been working to save the Chiricahua leopard frog since 1998 when we first petitioned for its protection under the Endangered Species Act, which it won two Center lawsuits later. We're also part of a group that developed a 2007 plan for the frog's recovery.
Read more in the Arizona Daily Star and learn about saving the Chiricahua leopard frog.
Court Upholds Sea Turtle Protections Against Longline Fishing
Good news for sea turtles: A federal appeals court has upheld a settlement limiting the number of loggerhead and critically endangered leatherback sea turtles that can be caught and killed by Hawaii's longline swordfish fishery, which uses up to 60 miles of hook-laden lines that sometimes snag turtles, seabirds and even humpback whales. The settlement was the result of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies.
We challenged a rule that nearly tripled the number of endangered sea turtles that could be caught by fishermen; when our settlement with the government capped the turtle bycatch, the fishing industry aggressively appealed the agreement. The recent court decision keeps turtles from drowning in fishing gear, and we'll continue to fight to ensure loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles stay out of longlines so they can survive and thrive.
Get more from the Environment News Service. Then learn more about leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles, as well as our fight against harmful fisheries.
Fight Continues Against Shell's Arctic Attack -- Take Action
Shell Oil has sued the Center for Biological Diversity and a dozen allies in order to strong-arm its way into destroying the Arctic with oil drilling. We're being singled out because, for more than five years now, we've blocked every offshore drilling proposal in the Arctic. The lawsuit seems aimed at intimidating those of us who are standing up to save the Arctic from offshore drilling -- but we don't scare easily.
The Arctic is simply too important for us to even consider retreat. An oil spill in the region's icy waters would be impossible to clean up, putting polar bears, walruses, ice seals and whales -- already gravely imperiled -- at even higher risk.
Please, stand with the Center and our partners in taking action to tell Shell it can't intimidate us out of the Arctic; then see how others have said no to Arctic drilling with scores of creative videos -- and make your own.
Suit Will Demand Recovery Roadmap for Disappearing Corals
If endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals off the Florida coast are going to survive, they'll need a roadmap to recovery. And even though the Center for Biological Diversity won the corals Endangered Species Act protection in 2006, the government has yet to draw up such a plan. So this week the Center notified the National Marine Fisheries Service that we'll sue if the agency doesn't do its duty and finally produce a recovery plan for these two coral species.
Coral reefs support a breathtaking array of wildlife and are fading away as an onslaught of threats -- particularly ocean acidification and warming waters that bleach them chalky white -- continues to cause massive dieoffs. We made history in securing their protections in 2006, but now it's time to demand the fruits of that victory: a plan that sets out exactly how these corals will be protected from harm and guided toward recovery.
Read more in the Virgin Island Daily News and learn about coral conservation.
More Cities Call for Action on Global Climate Crisis
More cities are joining the growing chorus urging President Obama and the EPA to tackle the global climate crisis -- and use the Clean Air Act to do it. The latest is Santa Fe, N.M., which just passed a resolution supporting action on global warming. Santa Fe joins 17 other cities in our Clean Air Cities campaign. Will your city be next?
Avoiding climate catastrophe will require dramatically reducing carbon levels in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million. (Today it's around 393 ppm.) Making that happen means significant action at the federal level. That's why cities around the country -- from Seattle to Cincinnati to Albany, N.Y. -- have joined our Clean Air Cities campaign in calling for change.
Learn how to make your city next at our Clean Air Cities Take-Action Toolbox and campaign page, where you can also see our brand-new interactive map of Clean Air Cities popping up all over the country. Then read an inspiring profile of an 85-year-old nun-turned-activist who led the charge in Oxnard, Calif.
Tell Obama to Stop Supporting Big Oil
Defying the opposition of tens of thousands of Americans to the Keystone XL pipeline, President Barack Obama is visiting Cushing, Okla., today to support construction of the southern leg of Keystone XL, which will transport dirty oil to Gulf Coast refineries for global export. Obama's support for the dirty oil industry comes despite severe risks to the nation's air, water and wildlife that have never been fully vetted under the nation's environmental laws.
According to the documents of TransCanada -- the proponent of the pipeline -- the southern segment will be used in the near term for exporting U.S.-produced oil. But TransCanada would ultimately use the Gulf Coast leg to move tar-sands oil -- the dirtiest kind -- to the Gulf Coast for refining and export as well. The Gulf Coast leg would add to the fossil fuel infrastructure just when we should be transitioning away from those fuels to avoid climate catastrophe. And like the existing Keystone 1 pipeline, the Gulf Coast leg of Keystone XL will spill, polluting land and water and ruining important habitat for endangered species like the whooping crane, piping plover, American burying beetle, interior least tern and Arkansas River shiner.
Please tell Obama to honor his promises and stop supporting Big Oil and Keystone XL's dangerous Gulf Coast leg. Then learn about the Center for Biological Diversity's hard work to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Search for Elusive Rainbow Snake Continues
In the first-ever formal survey for the South Florida rainbow snake -- recently, and possibly prematurely, declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- staff from the Center for Snake Conservation, Center for Biological Diversity and state and federal agencies went on a five-day expedition to find out if it still survives in South Florida.
Sadly we didn't find the snake this time, but we won't give up the search. We did confirm that there's perfect habitat for the beautiful animal on South Florida's quaintly named Fisheating Creek. There's also a tantalizing report of a recent, nearby sighting. The search will resume later this summer; we're not ready to write the snake's obit yet.
Learn more about the rainbow snake at the Center for Snake Conservation, as well as about the Center's campaign to stop the amphibian and reptile extinction crisis.
Happy 30th Anniversary to the Fund for Wild Nature
The Center for Biological Diversity joins others in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Fund for Wild Nature. Since 1982, the Fund has been providing much needed financial support to small, bold groups working to protect wildlife and wild places. In fact, in 1989 the Fund gave the Center our first-ever foundation grant when we were just getting started. Today the Fund continues to sponsor local grassroots groups on the front lines in the defense of wild nature. Unlike most foundations, which have endowments, the Fund is supported almost exclusively by donations it receives from individual contributors.
Wish the Fund a happy anniversary and check it out at www.fundwildnature.org.
Wild & Weird: Sex-deprived Flies Get Wasted
We'll give you a real barfly: a fruit fly (of the genus Drosophila, often used for lab studies) that heads straight for a booze binge when his sexual advances fail. A new study in the journal Science showed that male fruit flies, when rejected by females after sexily nuzzling their private parts, drank much more alcohol (that is, water spiked with ethanol) after the experience than did the more fly flies who got lucky.
Another facet of the experiment paired male flies with decapitated females -- which, er, had a limited ability to fend off the guys' advances but weren't exactly prime mating material, stopping any courtship dead. Thus the experiment suggests it's likely not social rejection but straight-up unwanted abstinence that left the guy flies seeking solace in spirits.
Table for one, Mr. Fruit Fly? We're droso-feelin' ya.
Read more in Scientific American.
Photo credits: chiricahua leopard frog by Jim Rorabaugh, USFWS; chiricahua leopard frog courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department; leatherback sea turtle; Rebecca Noblin; staghorn coral reef courtesy NOAA; Santa Fe courtesy Wikimedia Commons/JuliusR; piping plover (c) Sidney Maddock; Fisheating Creek courtesy Flickr Commons/B A Photography; Fund for Wild Nature logo; male fruit fly courtesy Wikimedia Commons/AndreKarwath.
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