Mexican Wolf to Be Placed in Captivity for Life -- Take Action
In southwestern wolf news, the alpha female of the Mexican gray wolf pack that killed four cows recently in New Mexico is slated to be removed from the wild -- and from her five pups -- to live out her life in captivity.
Conservation groups compensated the livestock operators for the loss of the cows, but still the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ordered the mother wolf killed -- a decision it reversed only after outcry from wolf advocates like the Center for Biological Diversity.
Said the Center's wolf expert Michael Robinson: "This Mexican wolf mother should be allowed to stay in the wild with her family. Removing her won't change the fact that vulnerable livestock were left unprotected -- and if that continues after she's gone, some other wolf will just end up paying for the same negligence again. The Fish and Wildlife Service needs to get those traps out of there."
Get the details on the plan to capture the mother wolf from the Albuquerque Journal and take action to keep her free.
Protection Sought for Great White Sharks
Together with Oceana and SharkStewards, the Center for Biological Diversity this week petitioned to protect California's great white shark population under both the federal and state Endangered Species acts. These top-tier predators are falling prey to gillnet fisheries, which target white seabass and swordfish but also catch juvenile white sharks in droves.
Center attorney Catherine Kilduff calls gillnets "curtains of death" because they cause so much bycatch of dolphins, whales and sea turtles -- species we've long championed -- in addition to great whites. Young Southern California great whites have also been shown to have the second-highest mercury level readings of any shark worldwide; their livers contained more chemicals like PCB and DDT than any other sharks'.
Feared for their sometimes one-sided encounters with human swimmers, great white sharks are capable of complex social interactions and are an integral part of the marine ecosystem, keeping populations of elephant seals and sea lions in check.
Read more in the Los Angeles Times and listen to a story on the petition from San Francisco's KGO News.
Warming-threatened Songbird Flies Toward Protection
A Center for Biological Diversity petition, and our historic 757 species agreement, have moved a rare mountain bird in the Northeast closer to Endangered Species Act safeguards. The Bicknell's thrush, a brown-backed songbird living high in the coniferous-forest mountaintops of New York and New England, is threatened mainly by climate change, which is shrinking its habitat as mountainsides warm and forcing the little bird ever higher. If Northeast temperatures rise by just 6 degrees, the thrush's habitat in the United States will essentially disappear.
Ski-area development is already fragmenting the bird's mountain sanctuaries, logging is obliterating vital breeding and wintering habitat, and mercury accumulation is contaminating its food sources. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the bird may warrant protection -- setting off a year-long review of its status.
Read more in the Boston Globe and learn about saving the Bicknell's thrush.
Feds Called On to Save Alaska Corals From Drilling
After the discovery of extremely sensitive coral on the floor of the Chukchi Sea -- right where Shell Oil is about to explore for oil -- the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace on Thursday filed a formal letter asking the Department of the Interior to analyze the potential harm to the coral before drilling is approved.
Cold-water corals like the species found in the Chukchi earlier this summer -- called sea raspberry coral -- are especially vulnerable to destruction, largely because they're long-lived and reproduce slowly, taking decades or even centuries to recover. These fragile, unique creatures are also a critical part of the Chukchi's entire underwater ecosystem, providing a three-dimensional habitat on the often barren sea floor that attracts and protects fish and other species, such as juvenile basket stars -- one of the most important, special species on the bottom of the Chukchi. The Center is determined not to let Shell destroy such habitat for the sake of dirty oil.
Read more in our press release and learn about Arctic oil development.
Plastic Pollution Hurting Seabirds, Whales, Turtles, Oceans
When plastic pollution and ocean wildlife mix, it can be pretty ugly. To get a better sense of the problem, a group of researchers at the University of British Columbia recently looked at the stomach contents of 67 northern fulmars -- albatross relatives that find all their food at sea along the northwest coast of North America. 92 percent of the birds had twine, candy wrappers and other discarded plastic in their stomachs; one unlucky bird had ingested 454 pieces of plastic (the average was 37).
It isn't just seabirds that are being hurt. Plastic pollution harms whales, sea turtles, seabirds, corals and endangered species like Hawaiian monk seals. Unfortunately, the problem is only getting worse, whether it's beach litter or giant vortexes in the middle of the Pacific. Stay tuned for new Center initiatives to get plastics out of our oceans -- and ways you can help.
Read more in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Livestock, Timber, ORV Groups Attack Forest Rule
On Monday, livestock, timber and off-roader industry groups sued over the Obama administration's latest planning rule for managing America's 193-million-acre national forest system. Their problem? Provisions requiring ecological sustainability and use of the best science may get in the way of making money off our public lands. Even as the new rules roll back longstanding protections for wildlife, industries continue to complain about any limits on what they can pull out of our heritage forests.
"The timber and livestock industries' opposition to science and sustainability shows they care about only one thing when it comes to our national forests: their own profits," says Taylor McKinnon, the Center's public lands campaigns director.
The rule, issued in January, is the Forest Service's fourth attempt since 2000 to produce new National Forest Management Act regulations. The Center and allies defeated earlier iterations in court for failing to fully examine how the rules would affect the environment and endangered species.
Read more in our press release and learn about our fight for forests.
Oregonian Profile: The Heart of a Center Biologist
Oregonian columnist Steve Duin recently spent the day with Center for Biological Diversity biologist Tierra Curry to talk about reptiles, amphibians and what makes Tierra tick. Duin's piece, "Salamanders and other creatures at heart of work by biologist raised in Appalachia," is built around their trip into the Columbia Gorge, east of Portland, in search of the Cascade torrent salamander. At its core is an insight into the importance of saving species of all stripes.
The profile touches on our petition to protect 53 amphibians and reptiles, mountaintop-removal mining and an odd freshwater mussel called the orangefoot pimpleback. "What she discovered, while maneuvering toward her dream job as a conservation biologist, is that we are not helpless," Duin writes. "We can defend the most endangered creatures, even in Kentucky, where a jagged hole in the Clean Water Act allows the waste from mountaintop coal removal to be dumped in the nearest stream."
Read Tierra's Oregonian profile for yourself and learn about our campaign to stop the amphibian and reptile extinction crisis.
Want to Combat Climate Myths? Read This
As a Center for Biological Diversity supporter, you're probably far from buying into climate-denial myths -- but maybe you know someone who isn't. If so, a new opinion piece by the Center's Kassie Siegel -- director of our Climate Law Institute and author of the petition that won federal protections for the polar bear -- may be useful. It lays out the top five myths about climate change (from "It's China's fault" to "Lowering emissions will hurt the economy") and counters them with truths that can't be denied.
Check it out in The Huffington Post, share it with everyone you know and learn about the Center's extensive collection of climate-saving campaigns.
Wild & Weird: Spider Lives Five Days in Woman's Ear
Here's a dose of the heebie-jeebies: Last week a woman in China's Hunan Province went to the hospital complaining of an itchy ear. When the doctor peered deep inside, he found four eyes staring back at him. A hairy spider had crawled into the patient's ear about five days earlier, while she slept, and decided to stay.
Doctors feared that trying to extract the critter manually might cause it to drill its barbs deeper into the woman's inner ear-flesh; luckily a simple saline solution washed the spider out. The woman nearly wept in relief.
Check out the photos at CBS News. And if this story makes you shudder, look on the bright side: At least this wasn't the mind-controlling eel that crept into ear canals in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Photo credits: Great white shark courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Terry Goss; gray wolf courtesy USFWS Pacific; Mexican gray wolf by Jim Clark, USFWS; great white shark courtesy Flickr Commons/hermanusbackpackers; Bicknell's thrush by T.B. Ryder, USFWS; sea raspberry coral courtesy Flickr Commons/dachalan; plastic-covered coral courtesy NOAA; Superior National Forest; Tierra Curry courtesy KFTC; smokestacks courtesy NASA; spider courtesy Flickr Commons/Kilarin.
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