Center for Biological Diversity

Frostpaws at Martha's Vineyard

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Center's Frostpaw Tells Vacationing Obama: Reject Keystone XL

Frostpaw at Martha's VineyardWhen President Barack Obama took his family on vacation on Martha's Vineyard Island last weekend, the Center for Biological Diversity was there to greet him. The Center's own Frostpaw the Polar Bear and Center staff -- including Director of Programs Peter Galvin, Population Director Jerry Karnas and Staff Attorney Catherine Kilduff -- staged multiple actions across the iconic island before and during the president's visit, making sure that everywhere Obama went he heard from citizens calling on him to reject the dangerous and destructive Keystone XL pipeline. If completed, Keystone XL would carry 9.4 million barrels of dirty tar sands crude across the American heartland every day and contribute more than 18 million tons of carbon to the atmosphere each year.

During the trip, Frostpaw dropped in at a book signing by food writer Michael Pollan, rang the opening bell at the Tisbury Farmer's Market and pounded asphalt in the Chilmark Road Race, all while encouraging Americans to stand up for a livable climate by challenging Obama to reject Keystone XL. When the president arrived on the island, Frostpaw, the Center and others -- including John Pappan, an elder from the Omaha tribe in Nebraska, a state the pipeline is slated to traverse -- were there to tell him definitively that now is the time to put an end to the Keystone XL folly.  

Read more in The Boston Globe and check out the Center's new Facebook photo album of our Martha's Vineyard excursion.

Wolf Win: Agency Backtracks on Blocking Experts' Review of Protection Removal

Gray wolfLate last week we revealed that that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had disqualified several of the nation's top wolf researchers from participating in the legally required scientific review of the government's plan to end federal protection for most wolves across the lower 48 states. Among the top researchers excluded were a wolf genetics expert from UCLA and a leading wolf scientist at Isle Royale National Park, home to one of the most studied groups of wolves in the world.

But soon after coming under heavy fire from the Center and allies, the agency said Monday that it's putting off the scientific review in favor of a different review -- an evaluation of its own actions, those which led it to disqualify the three scientists from the review panel.

"The future of wolf recovery in the United States is at stake here, and the Fish and Wildlife Service ought to be seeking advice from the very best wolf experts we have," said the Center's Brett Hartl. "We're glad to see the Service admit this mistake and hope this means there will be a true independent review of this deeply flawed proposal to remove protections for gray wolves."

Read more in our press release.

Infographic: What Happens When Wolves Lose Protections?

Wolf WarsHere's a bit of grim reality: When wolves lose the safety net of the Endangered Species Act, they instantly become more likely to be hunted or trapped. Just since April 2011, when wolves in five states lost federal protection, more than 1,700 have been killed. If the Obama administration has its way, nearly all wolves in the lower 48 will lose their protection and face the same risk.

We can't let that happen. That's why the Center is mobilizing our activists and arming them with the best information available -- like our new infographic on wolf protection.

Check out the infographic and share it with your friends and social networks.

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Fungus Killing Millions of Bats Hits Minnesota -- Take Action

Little brown bat with white-nose syndromeAs if 22 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces weren't enough, the fungus causing the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome has now spread to Minnesota. Scientists announced last week they'd found it in two state parks, and while the bats it affected thankfully weren't sick or dying -- yet -- this means Minnesota's bats could soon join the ranks of nearly 7 million white-nose syndrome fatalities so far. The fungus was just last month discovered in Arkansas.

The white-nose syndrome outbreak has been called the worst wildlife epidemic in history, causing mortality rates among bats ranging up to 100 percent in affected caves. There's no known cure for the disease, which has to date afflicted seven bat species and pushed several near regional extinction. Leading bat biologists have emphasized precautionary measures, such as closures and site-specific caving gear requirements, as the best management response.

The Center has been at the forefront of the fight against white-nose since the fungus's 2006 discovery in New York -- petitioning for cave closures to prevent its spread, calling on the feds for adequate funds to confront the crisis scientifically, and petitioning to protect bat species newly imperiled by this fearsome epidemic.

Read more in our press release and take action to tell Congress bats need more than a wing and a prayer.

Lawsuit Launched to Save Florida's Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

Cape Sable seaside sparrowThis week, the Center for Biological Diversity teamed up with noted scientist Dr. Stuart Pimm to save Cape Sable seaside sparrows in Florida from improper flooding. We sent a notice of intent to sue the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act through water releases that put the sparrows at serious risk of extinction and alter a wide swath of Everglades National Park.

Since 1993 the Corps has been releasing large amounts of water (during what should be the dry season) and actually flooding the western portion of the park. This area once harbored the world's largest population of Cape Sable seaside sparrows -- more than 3,000 birds -- but flooding has decimated them, in recent years reducing the population to fewer than 200 individuals.

"For 20 years the Army Corps of Engineers has been flooding Everglades National Park in the wrong place and at the wrong time, destroying the Cape Sable seaside sparrow and precious park prairies in the process," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "This can't be allowed to go on any longer."

Get more from WCTV.

Tell EPA to Ban Frog-castrating Atrazine -- Take Action

Chiricahua leopard frogAtrazine is a toxic pesticide that threatens wildlife and people across the country in some horrific ways -- yet it's the most commonly detected pesticide contaminant of our waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency is now taking a serious look at the dangerous effects of atrazine, and we need your help to ban this toxin.

Researchers have proven that atrazine chemically castrates and feminizes male frogs at very low concentrations -- lower than the levels allowed by EPA in our water supply. In people, atrazine exposure is likely linked to increased risk of thyroid cancer, reproductive harm and birth defects. Even phytoplankton, the tiny plants that form the basis of marine food chains, suffer adverse effects when exposed to low levels of this pesticide.

Atrazine's dangerous risks to wildlife and human health are unacceptable. It's time to ban this chemical. Please take action now to urge the EPA to outlaw toxic atrazine.

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Forest Service Again Jeopardizing Major Forest Project in Arizona

Arizona's White MountainsThere's more trouble with a long-running forest restoration project aimed at thinning 300,000 acres of national forests in northern Arizona.

The project, called the Four Forests Restoration Initiative, had been a model of collaboration between environmentalists (including the Center), scientists, local government and industry. In 2012 the U.S. Forest Service gave the thinning contract to Pioneer Forest Products, a company partially run by a former senior Forest Service employee who advocated cutting large trees -- something the collaborative coalition had opposed, but the agency decided to do anyway. The company had little experience, a dubious business plan and no financing.

Not surprisingly, it failed to carry out the contract.

Now the U.S. Forest Service is considering transferring the thinning contract to another company that may also be run by the same former Forest Service employee, and it may use the same business plan that failed the first time.

The Center is raising serious questions about how this contract is being handled, urging far more transparency and calling for an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general.

Learn more in our press release.

State of the Climate: Um... Terrible

Polar bearThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released its official, scientific 2012 State of the Climate report -- and the news is unsurprisingly frightening. Detailed, carefully gathered data from throughout last year helps confirm the long-term climate trends we all know are leading toward catastrophe: "...carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place."

The Arctic, for one, broke several records: Sea ice shrank to its smallest "summer minimum" extent since satellite records began -- putting polar bears at a new level of endangerment. And more than 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet showed some form of melt during the summer, four times greater than the 1981–2010 average melt extent.

What does this mean? Well, we'd better start by reducing greenhouse gas emissions dramatically and immediately; the Center is calling for a cap on carbon emissions, among other extensive climate work we've been doing in and out of court for many years.

Read the new scientific report and learn about the Center's Climate Law Institute.

Go Solar and Help the Center

Go SolarWe're excited to share an opportunity that could reap triple benefits -- for the environment, for you and your electricity bill, and for the Center and the imperiled plants and wildlife we help protect.

Hundreds of Center supporters have already gone solar with their homes while simultaneously raising funds for our mission by participating in a unique, affordable way to lease solar panels through Sungevity -- an award-winning, home-solar installer. Here's how it works: If you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey or New York, Sungevity will set up panels on your home for free when you sign up to lease the panels on a monthly basis.

You'll save up to 15 percent on your pre-solar electricity bills. Sungevity will also give you a $750 discount and donate $750 to the Center to help us defend endangered species like polar bears, bearded seals and penguins from threats like global warming -- all while you do your part to save our atmosphere about 8.24 metric tons of CO2 a year and help save the whole planet from catastrophic climate change.

Check out Sungevity's website to request a free quote today. Sungevity will contact you with a quote and more information. You can contact Sungevity at or call 1-866-SUN4ALL (866-786-4255) with questions. 

Wild & Weird: This Frog Is Charmingly Fierce -- Watch Video

Desert rain frogThe desert rain frog is quite possibly the world's most adorable amphibian -- especially when it's pretending to be tough. Recently, photographer Dean Boshoff crossed paths with one in South Africa and videoed the frog attempting to drive him off.

What unfolds is a most precious display of cute frog aggression, replete with a war cry so sugary sweet you could very well form a cavity just by hearing it.

Watch the video and share it with all who might appreciate this adorable amphibian.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Frostpaws at Martha's Vineyard by Antigone Rosenkranz; Frostpaw at Martha's Vineyard by Catherine Kilduff, Center for Biological Diversity; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/francoismi; Wolf Wars infographic by Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity; little brown bat with white-nose syndrome by Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Cape Sable seaside sparrow courtesy Wikimedia Commons/David A. La Pluma; Chiricahua leopard frog by Jim Rorabaugh, USFWS; Arizona's White Mountains courtesy Flickr/Al_HikesAZ; polar bear courtesy Flickr/Gerard Van der Leun; Go Solar image courtesy Sungevity; desert rain frog (c) Robert C. Drewes.

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Center for Biological Diversity

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Tucson, AZ 85702