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California Makes History by Banning Lead Hunting Ammo

California condorYears of tireless work to get toxic lead out of the wild paid off big-time late last week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed historic legislation to phase out all lead hunting ammunition in California by 2019. By passing Assembly Bill 711, California becomes the first state in the country to require the use of nontoxic bullets and shot for all hunting.

"California has taken a historic step to protect its wildlife from lead poisoning," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Jeff Miller. "Switching to nontoxic ammunition will save the lives of eagles, condors and thousands of other birds every year -- and keep hunters and their families from being exposed to toxic lead."

Millions of wildlife are poisoned annually from scavenging on carcasses containing lead-bullet fragments; eating lead-poisoned prey; or ingesting spent lead-shot pellets, mistaking them for food or grit. Spent lead ammunition causes lead poisoning in 130 species of birds and other animals.

So we're celebrating this important victory in California -- and pushing ahead on our goal to ban all lead hunting ammo around the country.

Read more in USA Today.

For Mighty Moose, Climate Change May Be Culprit in Declines

MooseThis week The New York Times came out with a troubling story about declining moose populations around North America, from Montana and British Columbia to Minnesota and the Northeast. The reasons are complex, but a common suspect is climate change.

In some places, like New Hampshire, longer autumns and less winter snow can mean more winter ticks -- some moose can be covered in 100,000 of the parasites, according to one state biologist. In Minnesota brain worms and parasites called liver flukes (which thrive in moist environments) seem to be giving moose trouble. "Another theory is heat stress," according to the Times. "Moose are made for cold weather, and when the temperature rises above 23 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, as has happened more often in recent years, they expend extra energy to stay cool. That can lead to exhaustion and death."

It's yet another reminder of the toll that climate change takes on our wildlife -- and the need to make significant moves now to get this crisis under control.

Read more in The New York Times.

Bobcat Victory: Calif. Bans Trapping Near National, State Parks

BobcatAfter months of work by the Center -- and thousands of letters from our supporters and other California residents who care about bobcats -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed a second good environmental bill last week, this one banning commercial bobcat trapping around California's national and state parks, monuments and refuges. The law also prohibits bobcat trapping on private land without the owner's permission and ends the state's subsidy of the cruel practice.

Assembly Bill 1213 was sparked by a disturbing increase in commercial trapping of these beautiful felines just outside the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. In some areas the amount of trapping had increased eight-fold over the course of two years as fur prices overseas rose.

"This is great news for California's bobcats, and for the millions of Californians and visitors alike who love watching wildlife in our beautiful parks and other wild places," said the Center's Brian Nowicki.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

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Center Sues to Save Sea Life -- Take Action With Us

Coral sponge gardenMarine waters are growing more acidic because every day, our oceans absorb 22 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution from power plants and cars. This is destroying marine life that's crucial to the food web: Oysters are failing to reproduce, corals are growing more slowly, and some plankton have thinner, weaker shells. Waters off Washington and Oregon, where shellfish hatcheries have experienced massive die-offs, are already in trouble.

The EPA can do something about it -- using an existing law, the Clean Water Act -- but so far it hasn't. To push the feds to address the critical problem of ocean acidification as soon as possible, the Center has filed suit over the EPA's failure to act.

"Our oceans are taking a deadly turn," said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center's oceans director. "If we don't act fast, we may not have oceans full of life and wonder for much longer."

Read more in USA Today and sign our petition to the EPA to address ocean acidification now.

Happy World Vasectomy Day -- Oct. 18

Sperm fertilizing egg"World Vasectomy Day" has a great ring to it, doesn't it? It's also a great idea -- the largest male-oriented family planning event in history. And the first annual observance happens to be tomorrow -- Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.

The goal of the day is to perform 1,000 vasectomies in 25 countries over 24 hours -- and some of these 15-minute procedures, performed on volunteers by doctors at the Royal Institution of Australia in Adelaide, will be streamed live over the Internet. Those 1,000 vasectomies alone have the capacity, organizers say, to lower our carbon footprint by 5 million-plus metric tons -- more than 28,000 people could accomplish in a lifetime of recycling, reusing and reducing. According to FHI 360 researcher Dominick Shattuck, 1,000 vasectomies in Africa save an average of 20 women's lives.

Vasectomies are an excellent means of contraception for men who are sure they don't want (more) babies, and therefore a key tool for curbing human population growth. To get a handle on the population explosion, we need men, as well as women, to be responsible for contraception -- and vasectomies are a highly effective, low-impact solution.

To find out more about the events of World Vasectomy Day -- like, will they reach their goal of 1,000 men in 24 hours? -- or even to find a vasectomist near you, visit WVD's website. Then learn more about the Center's work on unsustainable human population growth.

During Federal Shutdown, Ban Sought on Public Land Exploitation

Government shutdownWe're happy to see the federal government reopening today but had a serious bone to pick with how the Interior Department handled the shutdown on public lands. While the American people were barred from enjoying our national parks and wildlife refuges, big extractive industries like oil and gas still had access to our public lands -- even in the absence of government oversight. It's not right, and it's not safe -- so on Tuesday the Center sent a notice to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging her to shut oil and gas drilling, logging and mining out of public lands as long as the rest of us were shut out, too.

The Interior Department had continued to process permits to drill for oil and gas in coastal offshore areas, for instance, even while admitting that it could not, and would not, do environmental reviews of the very same risky actions that caused the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

"A rabid group of House Republicans may have caused this shutdown, but the Obama administration needs to get its priorities straight," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center. "Big Oil should not have access to the public lands that are closed to the American people."

Read more in The Huffington Post.

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Clean Air Cities Campaign Now Boasts 73 Communities

Honolulu, HawaiiWhen the Center started our Clean Air cities campaign, we had high hopes that plenty of communities across the country would help us urge the Obama administration to use the Clean Air Act to dramatically, quickly reduce carbon emissions and help get our atmosphere's CO2 level down to 350 parts per million, the level scientists say is needed to evade catastrophic global warming.

But we didn't know just how successful this campaign would be: Since we started our campaign in 2011, 73 communities have joined us -- from West Hollywood to Washington, D.C.

The latest cities to join are Honolulu, Hawaii, Charlottesville, Va., and Carlisle, Pa. Honolulu is especially at risk due to sea-level rise threatening to shrink its island state; meanwhile, Charlottesville has really been feeling the heat: Last year was Virginia's third-hottest year ever recorded. Carlisle united with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Hope Borough as Pennsylvania's fourth Clean Air City.  

Learn more in this Talk Nation interview with the Center's Rose Braz and check out our Clean Air Cities Web page and its interactive map.

Denver Wolf Hearing Postponed Due to Shutdown

Gray wolfThose wanting to speak out in person against the Obama administration's plan to end wolf protections for nearly all wolves in the United States will have to wait a little longer. Because of the federal government shutdown, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has postponed its planned hearing in Denver tonight. Earlier hearings in Sacramento and Albuquerque, N.M. were also postponed.

The Center and allies still plan to make a strong showing at any public hearing that's held on this disastrous wolf plan. We'll be in touch as soon as we hear about rescheduled hearings.

Meantime, you can still submit your comments in writing.

Wild & Weird: Giant Sea Serpent Found Off California

Giant oarfishEnormous sea serpents -- cousins to dragons -- have slithered through legend for millennia. But unlike dragons, sea serpents (of a sort) sometimes still pop up in real life. In a 2001 study, cryptozoologist Bruce Champagne noted that dozens of sightings of unidentified leviathans have been reported in the past two centuries alone.

This weekend, snorkeling off the coast of Southern California, a marine science instructor spotted the carcass of what may well have been characterized as a legendary monster: an 18-foot-long, serpentine "oarfish," longest of the bony fish species. It took more than 15 people to drag the gargantuan creature's body ashore.

Oarfish often dive to depths greater than 3,000 feet and are very rarely seen -- dead or alive -- by humans. And while an 18-footer is surely large enough to call up images of mythical sea serpents, giant oarfish of far greater lengths have been recorded -- some stretching more than 55 feet. That's longer than your average school bus.

Watch footage and learn more from the Los Angeles Times; then check out this wild, weird and funny oarfish music video.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: bald eagle by William C. Gladish; California condor courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Chuck Szmurlo; moose by Donna Dewhurst, USFWS; bobcat by Annica Kreuter; coral sponge garden by Robert Stone, NOAA; sperm fertilizing egg courtesy Wikimedia Commons; government shutdown courtesy Flickr/John Sonderman; Honolulu, Hawaii courtesy Flickr/Chris James; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Out of Chicago; giant oarfish courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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Center for Biological Diversity

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Tucson, AZ 85702