Obama Ignores Plight of Polar Bears
Polar bears are one of the world's most poignant symbols of global warming's danger to life, yet the Obama administration refuses to throw them a lifeline. This week, the government announced plans to reissue a Bush rule that leaves polar bears unprotected from the main threat to their survival: greenhouse gas emissions. The rule excludes all activities outside the bear's range from important regulations under the Endangered Species Act, meaning the Act can't protect bears from the polluting emissions that are melting their Arctic home.
After the Center for Biological Diversity sued over the unlawful rule, it was struck down in court last year. But clearly the Obama administration insists on repeating its folly.
"If polar bears are to survive, we have to directly confront the greatest threat to them: our greenhouse gas emissions," said the Center's Kassie Siegel. "But the Obama administration seems to be living in a fantasy world where the way to solve a difficult problem is to deny its existence."
Read more in The Los Angeles Times and learn about the Center's long fight to save polar bears.
Right and Blue Whales Get New Recovery Plans
Good news this week for two of the world's most endangered whales. Responding to last month's threat to sue by the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced Tuesday it will finally develop a plan to recover the North Pacific right whale, probably the most endangered big whale in the world, and update the recovery plan for blue whales.
Gentle, playful North Pacific right whales have a tiny population of as few as 30 individuals in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska and possibly a few hundred in Russia. Blue whales, the largest animals ever on Earth, number about 1,700 along the West Coast with smaller populations elsewhere and are increasingly being killed by ship strikes. Both whales will be far likelier to survive and recover with plans to guide the process.
Read more in the Juneau Empire and learn about our campaigns to save the North Pacific right whale and prevent boat strikes.
Lawsuit Launched for Loggerhead Sea Turtles
On Monday the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a notice of intent to sue the Obama administration for failing to protect "critical habitat" for imperiled loggerhead sea turtles on Florida's nesting beaches and marine waters in the Atlantic, as well as along the California coast.
Florida beaches host the largest U.S. nesting population of loggerheads -- but there are nearly 25 percent fewer turtles than there were a decade ago because of threats like commercial fisheries, oil spills and changing ocean waters. North Pacific loggerheads, which feed along the coasts of Southern California and Mexico, have declined by 80 percent over the same 10 years.
"As seas rise due to climate change, nesting turtles will have nowhere to go unless we protect their beach habitat now from unchecked coastal development," said the Center's Catherine Kilduff.
Read more in the Naples Daily News and learn about our fight to save loggerheads.
Southwest Snails and Their Habitat Protected
They may be small, but they face big challenges: The Three Forks and San Bernardino springsnails in Arizona and New Mexico have been decimated by groundwater depletion, fire-retardant chemicals, pesticides, damage to springs from elk and predation by nonnative crayfish.
So in accordance with a landmark settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity (also moving 755 other species toward protection), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week placed both tiny freshwater snails on the endangered species list and gave them protected "critical habitat."
The Three Forks springsnail -- whose protections we petitioned for in 2004 -- is found at only one Arizona spring complex; the San Bernardino springsnail occurs at only a few springs in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.
Get more from CBS Las Vegas and learn about our 757 species agreement.
Protection Needed Now for Declining Corals -- Take Action
More than 50 types of corals are likely to go extinct by the end of this century if they don't get help, according to a new report by the federal government. The finding by the National Marine Fisheries Service came in response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity to protect 82 corals under the Endangered Species Act.
The review admits that the combined effects of carbon dioxide pollution "likely represent the greatest risks of extinction" to the corals. Warming waters and ocean acidification caused by absorbing staggering amounts of CO2 have slowed coral growth and made mass bleaching events increasingly common.
The Center just petitioned the White House and EPA to develop a national plan to address ocean acidification.
Read more at msnbc.com, then take action to tell the Obama administration to curb carbon pollution and fight ocean acidification today.
Appeal Fights Oil Lease Sale in Arctic
Shell oil ships are now on their way to the Arctic's Chukchi Sea to drill for oil, where they will threaten the region's untold diversity of ocean life -- including polar bears, eiders, bowhead whales, Pacific walruses, yellow-billed loons and ice seals. Shell tried to stop the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups from opposing Arctic drilling by suing us in late February, but we're not backing down thanks to your support: the Center and 12 other groups just challenged the 2008 lease sale allowing Shell to drill in the Chukchi, which violates the bedrock National Environmental Protection Act.
"This Bush-era lease sale in one of the most fragile and least-understood ecosystems in the world was never a good idea," said Rebecca Noblin, the Center's Alaska director. "Four years later, all we've learned about the Chukchi Sea is how little we know. It's time the Obama administration took the blinders off and admitted that neither it nor the industry is prepared for the risks of drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean."
Get more from ABC News, learn about Arctic Oil Development and sign our petition to stop Arctic oil drilling.
Step Up on Save the Frogs Day -- Ban Poisonous Atrazine
In honor of Save the Frogs Day, which falls on Saturday, April 28, please help the Center for Biological Diversity ban atrazine, a widely used weed-killer that threatens people as well as amphibians.
Atrazine causes complete sex reversal in male frogs at concentrations even lower than what's allowed in our own drinking-water supply; it also increases the risk of birth defects and cancer in people. The European Union has already banned it for its unacceptable impacts on human health and the environment, but it's still the most commonly used herbicide in the United States.
Take action by telling your congressional representatives to ban atrazine. Still up for more amphibian action? Then learn more about pesticides reduction and the amphibian and reptile extinction crisis -- plus, check out our special-edition page of free endangered frog and toad ringtones.
Celebrate Earth Day With the Center
This Sunday is the 42nd annual Earth Day, on which millions will salute our amazing planet and the rich life it sustains -- taking time to celebrate the ground we walk on, the water we drink and the air we breathe. The Center for Biological Diversity is attending and hosting events across the country, from a film screening and celebrations in Tucson, Ariz., to a "party with a purpose" in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
To top it all off, we're having volunteers nationwide distribute 100,000 of our Endangered Species Condoms -- condom packages with colorful endangered species illustrations and funny slogans that raise awareness about the link between unsustainable human population growth and the extinction crisis our planet faces. We hope you'll join us this weekend in all the Earth Day action.
Check out our Earth Day events, take action from home to celebrate, and learn more about our Endangered Species Condoms campaign.
2012 Green Awards: Please Give Us Bragging Rights
Earth Day and Save the Frogs Day aren't the only things coming up that have the Center for Biological Diversity raring to go. We're also in the running for the 2012 Green Awards, a charity-rating contest put on by GreatNonprofits.org, which ends April 30.
Thanks to rave reviews from our supporters, in 2010 the Center earned the highest number of positive ratings of all 262 environmental organizations in the contest, making us the top-rated green group in the whole campaign. With your help, we can be No. 1 again.
So what do you like best about the Center? Until April 30, you can let the whole world know. And please do. Just sign in and weigh in on what the Center's doing right, and we'll secure recognition with donors, the media and the public.
Review us now at GreatNonprofits.org.
Wild & Weird: Man Bites Dog? No, Penguin Bites Newt
Was it something he said? While visiting St. Louis for a National Rifle Association convention on Friday, former House speaker and flagging Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich took a side trip to the zoo and met up with a little nipper who votes with his beak. One of the zoo's Magellanic penguins apparently nipped Newt neatly on the finger. Only a flesh wound, as they say; characteristically undeterred, the candidate was fixed up with a Band-Aid and sent on his way.
At least he wasn't bitten by a Komodo dragon. Read more in The Washington Post.
Photo credits: polar bear courtesy Flickr Commons/longhorndave; polar bear (c) Brendan Cummings; North Pacific right whale courtesy Wikimedia Commons; loggerhead sea turtle courtesy Flickr Commons/Brian Gratwicke; Three Forks springsnail by Mike Cox, USFWS; elkhorn coral by Adam Laverty, FPWC; bearded seal pup courtesy NOAA; mountain yellow-legged frog by Adam Backlin, USGS; Earth courtesy NASA; GreatNonprofits courtesy GreatNonprofits; Magellanic penguin courtesy Wikimedia Commons/David.
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