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Court Victory: Help for Endangered Fish Along 700-mile Ruby Pipeline

Humpback chubThe Ruby pipeline from Wyoming to Oregon has been built, but a panel of federal judges said Monday that more needs to be done to protect nine species of endangered fish living along its 700-mile route. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, in response to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, found that the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated both the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when they approved the natural gas pipeline, built in 2010.

The agencies now have to look at ways to mitigate harm to species like the Lahontan cutthroat trout, Modoc sucker, Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail chub.

"We wish the Ruby pipeline had never been built, but since it was, it's crucial that everything possible is done to minimize harm to the endangered fish that live along its route," said Center attorney Amy Atwood. "With this victory, these rare fish will be better protected, and the public won't have to bear the whole cost of the pipeline's destructive impacts."

Read more in The Denver Post.

Jaguars' Return Will Require Millions of Protected Acres

JaguarIf jaguars are going to recover in the American Southwest, they'll need millions of acres of protected habitat. The Center for Biological Diversity delivered that message late last week to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which proposed in August to protect more than 838,000 acres of the jaguars' critical habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. While those areas are important, we're also urging protection of vast swaths of the Mogollon Rim of Arizona and New Mexico's Gila National Forest so that jaguars that wander into the United States from Mexico will have safe havens to recolonize.

"The best habitat for American jaguars lies in the vast and rugged Gila National Forest in New Mexico and adjoining pine forests in Arizona," said Michael Robinson, the Center's specialist on jaguars and wolves. "The Fish and Wildlife Service has a moral duty to protect these special places, where jaguars once lived and which they should be able to call home again."

We know these extremely rare cats are here: Last month, a remote camera photographed the tail of a jaguar in southern Arizona.

Read more in the Las Cruces Sun-News and learn more about that mysterious jaguar photo in a Huffington Post op-ed by the Center's Noah Greenwald.

Court Upholds Ruling Against Destructive Sprawl Project in L.A. County

San Fernando Valley spineflowerIn a win for the Center for Biological Diversity and partners, a judge this week confirmed her preliminary ruling that state approval of the planned 60,000-resident Newhall Ranch development, in Los Angeles County, violated the law on multiple fronts. The decision is good news for steelhead trout, San Fernando Valley spineflowers, unarmored threespine sticklebacks and other rare plants and animals; American Indian cultural sites; and the welfare of the Santa Clara River.

A coalition of environmental and American Indian groups had argued that the California Department of Fish and Game (now Fish and Wildlife), in issuing permits to the project, failed to protect endangered species and ignored cultural-resource and climate-change impacts. The court agreed.

"The Santa Clara is a gem," said Center Senior Attorney John Buse, "and it's also one of the most endangered rivers in America. This ruling gives us hope that we can preserve Southern California's last major free-flowing river."

The fight against Newhall isn't over, but the destructive ex-urb faces an uncertain future. Read more in our press release.

See, Share Our New Ocean Acidification Infographic

Orange clownfishThere's no doubt that the world's oceans are endangered now like never before: Carbon pollution from factories, cars and power plants is making seawater more acidic faster than we ever expected. That deeply alarming transformation threatens all sorts of sea life, including fish, corals, sea otters and shellfish; it threatens the polar marine ecosystems, both in the Arctic and the Antarctic, that are a major part of planetary life support; and it directly threatens many millions of people who depend on fish for protein.

On Monday the Center for Biological Diversity released a powerful new infographic that explains this unfolding crisis in easy-to-understand detail. We're distributing it free to the public and media nationwide and also sending it to federal lawmakers -- along with a request to Congress for hearings on a national plan for ocean acidification.

"Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas are causing the oceans to acidify more and more rapidly than at any time since the extinction of the dinosaurs. It's time for actions that reduce carbon pollution in our oceans before it's too late," said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford University, in our press release.

Learn more about ocean acidification in our brand-new infographic and make sure to post it to Facebook, get it to the educators in your life and share it with friends and family.

Last Chance to Vote for Rubber Dodo Award -- Take Action

Rubber dodoIf you haven't voted yet to elect 2012's most outrageous eco-villain to win the 6th annual Center for Biological Diversity Rubber Dodo award, please -- do so now. The Rubber Dodo is given annually to a person or institution the Center (and you) decides has done their utmost to despoil the wild and drive species off the edge.

The candidates this year are Senator James Inhofe, Senator Jon Tester and Shell Oil. As you may know, Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.) is the country's, and Congress's, brashest and most flagrantly irrational global warming denier, this year and every year. A bill by Sen. Tester (D-Mont.) was instrumental in stripping federal protection from wolves in many western states, as a result of which at least 600 animals have already died. And Shell Oil seems bound and determined to suck oil out of the Arctic Ocean, no matter what -- say, polar bears, walruses, seals and the global climate -- it has to sacrifice to do so.

Go on, chime in; we want to hear from you by midnight tonight. Cast your vote here.

San Francisco, Culver City Join Call for Action on Climate Change

Golden Gate BridgeMore good news in our Clean Air Cities campaign: San Francisco and Culver City, Calif. are the 38th and 39th cities to join the call to national leaders to sharply reduce greenhouse gas pollution and head off a global climate catastrophe. San Francisco's board of supervisors last week unanimously approved a resolution urging President Barack Obama and the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to cut carbon emissions. Culver City approved a similar resolution on Monday.

San Francisco is extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise, and Culver City is expected to see a dramatic increase in the number of hot days as the climate changes. They join cities like Detroit, Chicago and Seattle in the Center for Biological Diversity's Clean Air Cities campaign.

Will your city be next? The future of the campaign depends on you. Learn more at our Clean Air Cities Web page, where you can find tools and information on how to get started.

The Best $11.42 a Person Could Spend

Polar bearsA study just out in the journal Science puts the cost of preventing all future species extinctions, across the globe, at $11.42 annually from every person on the planet -- a total of $80 billion a year.
That's a bargain-basement price: Said environmental economist Donal McCarthy, "The total required is less than 20 percent of annual global consumer spending on soft drinks."
Lowering the extinction risk for all species currently described as threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature would cost the first $4 billion per year; securing key habitats would cost $76.1 billion more. Governments are in economic crisis, of course, and consumers won't be given the direct choice of forgoing their sodas to save the world -- but the numbers show that curbing the extinction crisis is well within our grasp, if only the political will can be marshaled.
Read more from Scientific American and check out an abstract of the study.

Help Us Get a Leg Up at -- Write a Review

Great NonprofitsIt's time to showcase your wordsmithing skills on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity. At, a review site much like Yelp or Tripadvisor, you can tell others just how effective, passionate and hardworking you know we are. To qualify for the website's "top-rated" award -- which will help us spread the word about wildlife and wilderness and the work we do to save them -- we only need a few more positive reviews.

So please, friends and supporters, lend us your pen -- er, keyboard -- and write us a rave.

Your Vote Counts, Redux

VoteAnd here's another election nudge, because we don't want to have to give the Rubber Dodo to a president. You can get out to the polls and make a difference in 2012 -- this is your chance to influence how our country is run, including, notably, what’s done to combat climate change and how endangered species are treated.

Needless to say we can't, and will not, tell you how to vote. But do vote -- please.

Whatever you choose at the ballot box, you're a vital part of the electorate. 

Wild & Weird: The Spooky Species of All Hallows’ Eve -- Watch Videos

Jack-o'-lanternHalloween isn’t just about candy and ghosts and slasher movies. It’s also a time to celebrate some of the Earth’s most wonderfully creepy critters.
The vampire bat is the only mammal with an all-blood diet. Named after the mythical monster from Transylvania, these blood-o-holics are so small and light that they'll often feast on their host for 30 minutes without waking it up. Watch a video.

The largest and hairiest of the arachnids, tarantulas can get as big as dinner plates. Found from rainforests to deserts, these typically easygoing spiders are seldom dangerous to humans, but they do have one surprisingly scary feature: retractable claws, just like cats. Watch a video.

Why do so many people find toads creepy? Is it because they swallow their prey whole, or is it that warty look and the cultural link to witches? Many toads do secrete toxins from their pores, but it should be noted that in California -- due to the popularity of "toad licking" -- it is illegal to possess Colorado River toads, which produce a powerful hallucinogen called bufotoxin. Read a lively essay on toad-licking by the Center's executive director Kierán Suckling; watch this video.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: jaguar courtesy Flickr/Roeselien Raimond; humpback chub courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Cburnett; San Fernando Valley spineflower courtesy National Park Service; orange clownfish courtesy Flickr/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies; rubber dodo; Golden Gate Bridge courtesy Flickr/Leonardo Pallotta; polar bears by Brendan Cummings, Center for Biological Diversity; Great Nonprofits; Vote courtesy Flickr/Ho John Lee; jack-o'-lantern courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Toby Ord.

Essay reprinted from Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales, ed. Kate Bernheimer, Wayne State University Press, 2007.

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