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Scientists Blow Holes in Plan to End Wolf Protections -- Take Action

Gray wolfExciting news for wolves: On Friday top scientists announced that science doesn't back up the Obama administration's plan to strip Endangered Species Act protections from most wolves across the country.

The peer-review decision is a body blow to the feds' disastrous wolf plan. In the six states where wolves have already lost protection, more than 2,600 of them have been killed in just two years; imagine the death toll if wolves lose their safety net across all states -- for good.

Scientists have identified hundreds of thousands of square miles of suitable habitat in regions across the country, from the Pacific Northwest, California and the southern Rockies to New York's Adirondacks. But wolves will never return to those native stomping grounds if the government's intentions become reality.

Get more from KCET News and take action to tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Keep wolves protected.

Lawsuit Filed to Halt Massive Las Vegas Water Grab

Greater sage grouseThe Center for Biological Diversity went to court on Wednesday to stop a right-of-way needed for a massive water grab that would siphon more than 27 billion gallons of groundwater each year from the eastern Nevada desert, only to pump it 300 miles to the Las Vegas Valley. The right-of-way -- illegally approved by the BLM -- threatens wildlife, public lands and our environmental heritage.

This $15.5 billion project would dry up or harm 200 springs, 33 miles of trout streams, and more than 130,000 acres of sagebrush habitat for sage grouse, mule deer, elk and pronghorn. It would also push 25 species of Great Basin springsnails toward extinction and put 14 species of desert fish at risk, including Moapa dace and White River springfish.

"Enough is enough," said Rob Mrowka, the Center's Nevada-based senior scientist. "The Southern Nevada Water Authority and BLM need to drop this disastrous water grab."

Watch a news video featuring Rob and get details from K-Las TV Las Vegas.

Get Free 'Love Calls of the Wild' Ringtones for Valentine's Day -- Watch Video

Pacific walrusWhat better way to declare your love for the wild than to fill the air with soulful, funny or fierce animal calls whenever your cell phone rings?

This Valentine's Day the Center is offering 25 specially selected, free ringtones that include wildlife mating calls and social calls -- hoots, chirps, growls and trills from animals across the planet. These ringtones have been selected from our year-round collection of high-quality, authentic sounds and images (we also offer phone wallpaper) of some of the world's rarest and most endangered species.

Love Calls of the Wild includes sounds from orcas, polar bears, pikas, spotted owls, whooping cranes, penguins, toads and prairie dogs -- such a wide variety that you can pick exactly the mating calls
you're in the mood for this Valentine's Day.

Check out our free Valentine ringtones and then watch our new video, "How Do Endangered Species Say 'I Love You?'"

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Protection Sought for 9 Caribbean Skinks

Puerto Rican skinkWhat, you may ask, is a skink? It's a slithering, snaky lizard -- and nine species of skinks in the Caribbean are so rare that this week we petitioned to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.

The nine skink species we're trying to save were only recently identified by scientists, and they're already nearly extinct, mostly due to introduced predators and large-scale habitat destruction for development and farming. This is dangerous since skinks play a critical role in their ecosystems, across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as both predators and prey.

"Time is running out for these lizards," said Center lawyer Collette Adkins Giese.

And it isn't just these nine Caribbean skinks that are in trouble -- about 1 in 5 reptile species around the globe are considered endangered or at risk of disappearing.

Read more in the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Tiny Oregon Fish = Big Endangered Species Act Success

Oregon chubThe Oregon chub, a silver-speckled, 3-inch minnow native to waterways outside Portland, has been declared recovered and should soon come off the endangered species list. This minnow is the first fish ever to be pronounced recovered under the Endangered Species Act.

It's a strong testament to the Act's effectiveness. The number of chub populations has grown from eight to 80 since 1993 --
thanks not only to the species' listing but also its recovery plan and federal protection for some of its most important habitat. All three tools together make for powerful protection.

"It's thrilling to see yet another species recover under the Endangered Species Act," said Center Senior Scientist Tierra Curry. "The story of the Oregon chub is a perfect example of how well this law works when we let it."

Read more in National Geographic.

4,000 Endangered Species Condoms Sent to America's Most Romantic Cities

Florida panther illustrationForget cards, chocolates and teddy bears -- this Valentine's Day the Center's volunteers are handing out 4,000 free Endangered Species Condoms.

We sent the wildlife condoms to distributors in cities that USA TODAY ranks as the most romantic in the country -- from beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine, to stylish Santa Fe, N.M. Our condoms come in packages with colorful illustrations of six different endangered species and info on the threats they face from the growing human population. It's no coincidence that as our ranks expand, the numbers of polar bears, hellbenders, Florida panthers and other wild animals are dramatically shrinking.

"Valentine's Day is the perfect time to spread a message of love for wildlife by speaking out about human population growth and endangered species protection," said the Center's population and sustainability organizer Taralynn Reynolds.

Read a news bulletin on the condoms from sexy St. Paul.

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California Drought? Not for Privately Held Kern Water Bank

Parched landscapeCalifornia is in the grips of a major drought. Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared an emergency, and talk is turning to tightening water supplies around the state. And yet, for rich agribusiness moguls who control the vast Kern Water Bank near Bakersfield -- four times larger than the Hetch Hetchy reservoir -- there's plenty of water for pomegranates, almonds and pistachios.

The state handed over control of the water bank to private interests some 20 years ago. But Center attorneys recently went to court to argue our case to get the Kern Water Bank back into the hands of the public -- just when all of California is talking about who should control state water supplies.

"Should we leave it to a couple of rich guys to decide how to distribute it," the Center's Adam Keats asked a CBS affiliate in San Francisco, "or should we let that be the democratic process that our governor and our elected officials, if they really had our interests at heart, would distribute fairly?"

Watch the full story, including an interview with Adam, on CBS News.

Fight for the Future of Pacific Bigeye Tuna -- Take Action

Bigeye tunaPacific bigeye tuna -- sleek, giant, ocean-crossing fish -- are plagued by overfishing, with adults at their lowest levels in history. On top of fishing stress, climate change threatens to warm ocean waters in a way that could kill off bigeye by century's end. The only way to stop these magnificent fish from vanishing -- from both people's dinner plates and the natural world -- is through international cooperation on both fishing and carbon cuts. But the National Marine Fisheries Service is poised to make a new rule that will completely undermine that needed cooperation.

Specifically, the rule would increase the fishing quota for Hawaii longline vessels by allowing them to use the quotas for U.S. territories. The catch (pun intended) is that those territories have no internationally set limit on bigeye tuna -- meaning Hawaii fishermen won't have to comply with the U.S. limit set by the international community.

Take action to help us keep bigeye tuna thriving in the Pacific Ocean far into the future -- demand strict adherence to bigeye tuna fishing limits.

Wild & Weird: Fido of the Sea -- Watch Video

Grey seal pupIf people had gills, man's best friends might be seals instead of dogs. Following an annual trip to the Farne Islands off England's coast -- home to a massive colony of Atlantic gray seals that brings forth about 1,400 new pups every fall -- a group of divers has released some great footage showing off the raw, doggish friendliness of those pups.

The seals' affectionate behavior is rarely experienced by humans because, according to one expert, seals don't engage in much social interaction when they're on dry land. They create their social bonds through touch and play as pups in the water.

So you'd better experience this video, where divers scratch seal pups behind the ears and even pat their bellies. But be warned: According to Kelly Froud with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, what looks like playfulness may just be a seal with an itch he wants scratched. And even these adorable pups have sharp teeth and claws -- so don't go looking for your own seals to cuddle.

Watch the video now and read more at The Dodo.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Gray wolf courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Retron; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/Eric Kilby; greater sage grouse courtesy Flickr Commons/NDomer73; Pacific walrus photo courtesy USGS; Puerto Rican skink (c) Puerto Rico Wildlife/Alfredo Colón (; Oregon chub courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Florida panther illustration with design by Lori Lieber and artwork by Roger Peet (c) 2012; parched landscape courtesy Flickr Commons/wwarby; bigeye tuna courtesy NOAA; gray seal courtesy Flickr Commons/Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel.

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Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702