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Good News: Decision Delayed on Keystone XL Pipeline

Trans-Alaska PipelineThe State Department announced on Friday it will delay its decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to give other government agencies more time to analyze the pipeline's effects. The announcement comes in the wake of intensive advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity and our many coalition allies on Keystone, as well as a string of high-profile protests; it also follows a court ruling that struck down a Nebraska law allowing the governor, not the state's utility commission, to decide where the pipeline should be built.

The current delay makes it unlikely that a decision on Keystone -- a 1,700-mile, Canada-to-Texas pipeline that would carry a daily load of up to 35 million gallons of dirty oil from Canada's tar sands -- will be made before the November elections.

"Every day this pipeline doesn't get built is a day that our climate is healthier and wildlife in the pipeline's path are safer," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center. "Millions of Americans have taken a stand against Keystone, and my hope is, that's making the Obama administration think twice."

Watch our video highlighting the dangers of oil pipelines and join us this weekend for a big anti-Keystone rally in Washington, D.C.

Public Opposition Helps Defeat Arizona Wolf-kill Bills -- Thank You

Mexican gray wolfAfter an outpouring of public opposition from Center activists and others, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this week vetoed two anti-wolf bills, including one that would have allowed ranchers to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves on federal land, contrary to federal law.

Thank you to all who answered our call to action against these bills, especially those who flooded Brewer's office with phone calls this week.

There are just 37 Mexican gray wolves in the Arizona wild. This struggling population desperately needs protection to survive -- and some state lawmakers are intent on making sure it doesn't get that protection. We're happy to see Brewer veto these disastrous bills, but we also know that wolf-haters in Arizona remain a potent force. We won't relax our vigilance.

Read more about the Center's long battle to save Mexican gray wolves from extinction.

Rare Bears Being Baited, Shot in Alaska -- Take Action

Kenai brown bearSpring's the season when many animals come out of hibernation into a newly green world where they can once again roam, feed and care for their young. But this spring, when the rare brown bears of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula wake up after their long naps, the food they find may lure them to their deaths.

On the Kenai, bait ranging from salmon to greasy old doughnuts is often set out by unsportsmanlike hunters to lure these special animals into easy shooting range. And the state of Alaska is allowing 70 Kenai brown bears to be killed this year by hunters in a potential massacre. It has already issued 1,300 bear-killing permits for the Kenai.

So many bears cannot be allowed to fall to hunting and cruel baiting. More than half the lands on the Kenai are federally run and not subject to this state management practice designed to drastically reduce the brown bear population. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has already refused to allow baiting of brown bears on its lands.

But the refuge needs to hear from you if it's to take the next step: banning all hunting of brown bears within its boundaries. Kenai bears need the refuge to be a real sanctuary. Take action now.

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Jaguar Shows Up in New Photos Near Proposed Arizona Mine

JaguarThere's at least one endangered jaguar kicking around Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains in the same area where the Rosemont copper mine has been proposed. The Arizona Game and Fish Department just released a new series of photos from the University of Arizona's trail cameras, including some taken as recently as April 10.

The photos are the latest evidence of the Rosemont jaguar, first photographed in 2011.

Last month, in response to a lawsuit from the Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized protection for 764,000 acres of jaguar habitat in southern Arizona and New Mexico. Jaguars -- the rarest wild cats in North America -- are beginning to slowly recolonize parts of the Southwest, but the open-pit Rosemont mine would destroy thousands of acres of prime habitat and sever critically important movement corridors essential to their recovery in the United States.

Check out the photos and learn more about our fight to save jaguars and the Southwest's "Sky Islands."

Four Years After Worst Oil Spill in U.S. History, Trouble Remains -- Watch Video

Oiled pelicans after BP's Deepwater Horizon spillIt's been four years since the BP oil spill -- four years since more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, killing thousands of sea turtles, dolphins, fish, birds and other wildlife. The grim effects linger: oil and tar in the Gulf, sick marshes, deformed fish and dying dolphins.

Still, despite BP's responsibility for the worst oil-spill disaster in U.S. history, the Environmental Protection Agency on March 13 lifted its suspension of the company and allowed it to enter into contracts with the federal government again -- including leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Not two weeks later, a BP refinery spilled up to 1,600 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan.

While BP and the EPA seem to believe it's fine to return to business as usual, we believe it's vital that the lessons of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster aren't lost.

Check out the Center's Jaclyn Lopez on Democracy Now! this week talking about what's next for the Gulf of Mexico, and act now to tell the EPA we don't need BP.

Center Op-ed in The Guardian: Bundy Beats a Dead Horse

Gold Butte cowFor 20 years freeloading rancher Cliven Bundy fed his cattle off public land without paying grazing fees. When the Bureau of Land Management rounded up some of those trespass cattle two weeks ago, hundreds of anti-government agitators showed up at the corral bearing rifles and handguns, and the BLM caved and released the cows. Center scientist Rob Mrowka, based in Nevada, was caught in the rhetorical crossfire -- left alone to speak up for the government's right to govern while far-right wingnuts threatened violence.

I wrote about Bundy's background this weekend in The Guardian. His claim to be a "Nevada citizen" rather than a U.S. one doesn't pass the laugh test since Bundy's cows have trampled on Nevada laws just as heavily as they've trampled on federal ones. No, Bundy simply believes it's his right to act out his deeply ingrained hostility toward the federal government -- and apparently against the public interest -- under the false guise of righteousness. He's part of a long lineage of often-paranoid, extremist libertarians, profiteers, armed militia members and livestock operators who believe it's simply their right to ignore the common good and seize control of public lands for private profit.

The fact that these folks do sometimes default to gun and bomb violence is a big part of why the BLM let Bundy run his cattle illegally for so many years at taxpayers' expense.

The cows may have been released for now, but the battle's far from over. Get more from the Center's Rob Mrowka in this newscast (see Rob at 20:35), and read the full text of my Guardian piece here. Also, check out Jon Stewart's coverage.

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Lawsuit Disputes Sale of State Forest Land in Oregon

Marbled murreletThis week the Center and allies filed suit challenging Oregon's disposal of 788 acres of the Elliott State Forest, a beautiful landscape of precious old-growth trees that's home to scores of rare species -- including the federally protected marbled murrelet, a Northwest seabird that depends on old-growth habitat for nesting.

The state of Oregon recently sold part of this forest -- the "East Hakki Ridge" parcel -- to a timber company that will clearcut the area, chopping down the trees on whose wide, mossy limbs the murrelet lays its eggs, after flying more than 40 miles inland to do so.

"The Elliott State Forest is critically important to the survival of the marbled murrelet, coho salmon and hundreds of other species," said Noah Greenwald, the Center's endangered species director. "It also holds great promise for storing carbon to help insulate both people and wildlife from the devastation of climate change."

Read more and see a marbled murrelet slideshow in The Oregonian.

Springtime Is Ring Time -- Get Our Free Endangered Species Ringtones

DugongLooking for some new bling in your phone -- and a way to spread the word about endangered species? Check out our growing collection of free ringtones, featuring songs, howls, growls, chirps and croaks of rare species from around the world. The next time your phone rings in public, you may spark the interest of someone who'll want to know all about that siren song of the dugong, tawny brown owl hooting duet, or Chiricahua leopard frog ribbit coming from your gadget. Who knows? Your phone may start a one-of-a-kind conversation.

Since the Center launched our "Rare Earthtones" ringtone site in 2007, these free, easily downloadable tones (plus free species wallpaper photos) have been downloaded about 620,000 times in nearly 180 countries.

Freshen up your phone's tones and help save rare critters at the same time -- check out Rare Earthtones today.

Wild & Weird: Behold -- Sir David Attenborough

Sir David AttenboroughThis week the BBC is celebrating the life and work of Sir David Attenborough, beloved host of many of the most groundbreaking and widely viewed nature documentaries ever produced.

Attenborough's eminently British encounters with some of the world's rarest creatures, coupled with his poignant commentary about the state of the planet, have inspired several generations of biologists, activists and wildlife filmmakers to work for the protection of the Earth.

At #Attenboroughweek, his fans can share their favorite Attenborough moments with the BBC. Here are a few of ours:

Attenborough discusses rare frogs and other amphibians in Planet Earth.

Attenborough narrates a tortoise attempting coitus with a shoe.

Attenborough reports on spiders hunting in packs.

And finally a mash-up of Attenborough's narration and Miley Cyrus' infamous twerkapalooza at the 2013 Video Music Awards.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Whooping crane (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Trans-Alaska Pipeline courtesy Wikimedia Commons/USGS; Mexican gray wolf (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Kenai brown bear (c) Steve Stringham; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Cburnett; oiled pelicans courtesy Wikimedia Commons/International Bird Rescue Research Center; Gold Butte cow by Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity; marbled murrelet by Rich MacIntosh, USFWS; dugong courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Julien Willem; Sir David Attenborough courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Mikedixson.

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Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702