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2 Million Native Animals Killed by Wildlife Services Last Year -- Take Action

Black bearThe carnage continues: New figures show that the secretive government program known as Wildlife Services killed more than 2 million native animals in 2013, including 320 gray wolves, 75,326 coyotes, 419 black bears, 866 bobcats and 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs. Its methods were gruesome, including aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps. Some animals took their final breaths in painful neck snares, while others were pulled from their dens and shot.

Most of the animals were targeted on behalf of the livestock and agriculture industries, along with other powerful interests that value profits over wildlife. The latest numbers are a 30 percent increase over 2012.

It's time to get this miscreant arm of the Agriculture Department under control. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition for reform in December, requesting new rules to make it more transparent and accountable and to halt the killing of nontarget animals.

Read more with the Center in The Washington Post and take action to reform this rogue program.

Suit Filed to Save Rare Alaskan Wolf

Alexander Archipelago wolfThe Alexander Archipelago wolf, a rare subspecies of gray wolf, is found only in the old-growth forests of southeast Alaska, but a long history of clearcut logging on the Tongass National Forest and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of its habitat.

In 2011 the Center and allies petitioned to get these Alaska wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act because they're being pushed toward extinction by logging and road-building in the Tongass. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made an initial finding that protection may be warranted, but it still hasn't happened. This week the Center and partners sued the agency for delaying protection.

"As large carnivores disappear around the world, we still have a strong chance of saving this one-of-a-kind Alaska wolf," said Rebecca Noblin, the Center's Alaska director. "We know exactly what the wolf needs: old-growth forest, plenty of deer and refuge from humans. The Fish and Wildlife Service just needs to wake up and protect the wolves before it's too late."

Read more in Juneau Empire.

Oil Companies Use 45 Million Lbs. of Air Toxins in Southern California

Oil pumpjacksA new report from the Center and allies finds that oil companies, over the past year alone, used more than 45 million pounds of dangerous chemicals in Southern California that have a history of escaping into the air and posing serious health risks to people.

Oil companies used at least 44 different air-toxic chemicals -- including hydrofluoric acid and formaldehyde -- in hundreds of fracking, acidizing and gravel-packing jobs in Los Angeles and Orange counties. More than half of these chemical-intensive procedures involved oil wells within 1,500 feet of a home, school or medical facility, our analysis found.

"Oil companies' own records show they're recklessly using thousands of tons of air-toxic chemicals in some of California's most heavily populated communities," said the Center's Hollin Kretzmann. "This is the air that 13 million people breathe every day. We need to stop this dangerous oil extraction immediately to protect the air we breathe."

Get more from Southern California Public Radio.

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What Does 7 Billion Look Like? -- Send Us Your Photos

CrowdThere are nearly 7.2 billion people on the planet today, and our numbers keep growing. That means more crowds, more traffic, more pollution, and less room for the other species we share the Earth with. We want to know what living in a world of 7 billion looks like and feels like to you -- so we're launching a new photo campaign, called Crowded Planet.

From images of air pollution over the San Francisco Bay to congested parkways in New York and Los Angeles to long lines at the bank, we want to see how a growing human population affects your view of the world. We'll compile the photos and release them in time to spark a conversation about population for World Population Day on July 11.

Join our campaign on Instagram and/or Twitter using the hashtag #CrowdedPlanet, or email us your pics at (please, no larger than 10 MB).

Learn more and see sample photos for the Crowded Planet campaign.

Historic Legal Win for Arizona's Precious San Pedro River

San Pedro RiverAn Arizona judge this week rejected a controversial plan for a massive groundwater-pumping project that would drain water away from the San Pedro River to feed sprawl development in Sierra Vista, east of Tucson. The ruling said the conservation value of the Upper San Pedro River -- including for birds, fish and other wildlife -- wasn't properly considered in April 2013 when state officials approved the plan to pump water away for the Tribute development, which would include nearly 7,000 new homes and commercial lots.

The Center, along with Sierra Vista resident Tricia Gerrodette and the Bureau of Land Management, sued over the state's decision. We defended the Upper San Pedro as the last undammed and free-flowing river in the desert Southwest, which provides important habitat for a wide array of species, including migrating birds.

"This is a huge victory, not just for the San Pedro but for waters around the state that provide life-giving habitat for wildlife," said Robin Silver, a Center cofounder. "Sprawling projects like the one in Sierra Vista exact a massive toll on Arizona's natural resources. The San Pedro is a lifeblood of southern Arizona and deserves far better than to be drained for profits."

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Southwest Jumping Mouse Leaps Onto Endangered List

New Mexico meadow jumping mouseFollowing the Center's historic 757 species settlement, the Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday finalized Endangered Species Act protections for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, a little rodent with just 29 remaining populations along streams in eastern Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado.

This mouse can only survive in areas with tall, dense streamside grasses and sedges to feed on so it can gain enough weight in the summer for its unique, nine-month winter hibernation. Grazing is the most immediate threat: There's concern that some populations may not survive this summer if cows are allowed to graze in its precious little remaining habitat.

"Saving the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse and the streamside habitat it needs to survive is long overdue," said Jay Lininger, a senior scientist at the Center. "When we protect this tiny animal, we're also helping people, because we all rely on clean water for survival."

Read more in the Tucson Sentinel.

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New Haven Becomes 80th Community Calling for Climate Action

New Haven, CTNew Haven, Conn., has joined scores of other U.S. communities in urging the Obama administration and the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that's driving global warming. In passing its resolution, New Haven became the 80th community to join the Center's Clean Air Cities campaign.

"The Clean Air Act can be a powerful tool for reducing greenhouse gas pollution," said New Haven Alderman Darryl Brackeen, Jr. "We are proud to join communities around the country who are calling for ambitious action on climate change using this cornerstone law."

The climate crisis is already hitting U.S. communities -- noticeably. The Northeast saw temperatures climb by almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit between 1985 and 2011, and coastal flooding has increased due to sea-level rise of approximately a foot since 1900. New Haven County could lose nearly $5 billion to a 100-year-flood scenario, which will become increasingly frequent as sea levels continue to rise.

Find out how to make your community the next Clean Air City.

Petition Filed for Rare, Spiky Lizard

Flat-tailed horned lizardIn the midst of the Center's long fight to protect the flat-tailed horned lizard under the federal Endangered Species Act, on Tuesday we expanded our campaign to petition the California Fish and Game Commission to safeguard the rare reptile under the state Endangered Species Act. This lizard, often called a "horny toad," sports six long, pointy horns on its head, plus pointed scales covering its jaw, and fringed scales off its sides.

But neither its intimidating appearance nor its interesting "freeze-in-place" strategy -- meant to deter predators -- can shield it from off-road vehicle kills. ORVs, habitat loss and global warming are driving this horny guy toward the point of extinction.

And the feds aren't helping: In 1980 the BLM designated the flat-tailed horned lizard as a sensitive species in California, but the Fish and Wildlife Service didn't propose it for protection under the federal Act till 1993. Despite decades of efforts to protect the lizard, the Service ultimately denied it final protection.

Get more from KCET News.

New Year, New Reviews Needed -- Speak Up for the Center

Green sea turtle It's been 2014 for a while now -- so we at the Center figure we're allowed to start prodding our supporters to visit, a review site like Yelp or Tripadvisor where you can tell others just how effective, passionate and hardworking you know we are as a charity green group.

Thanks to lots of stellar (that is, four-star) reviews by supporters like you in the past, the Center has won a "top-rated" award at GreatNonprofits every year since the site began about five years ago. But to qualify for that award in 2014 -- which will help us spread the word about the wild world and our work to save it -- we need to keep getting good reviews through October (and preferably, starting now).

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

Wild & Weird: First Video From a Polar Bear's POV

Polar bearEver wonder what it would be like to see through the eyes of a 500-pound female polar bear, wandering the ice floes and waters of the Arctic Sea in search of food? Maybe fooling around a bit with a friend? If your answer is yes, you're in luck.

The U.S. Geological Survey recently released the first-ever polar bear's point-of-view video, from a polar bear on the Arctic sea, somewhere north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Captured from video camera collars worn by four female bears, the footage gives an intimate, first-person look -- or "first-bear look" -- at the daily lives of these Arctic giants.

Watch our new video showing the POV footage of a polar bear stalking a seal under the ice, as well as up-close-and-personal moments caught on camera of a bear flirting with a potential mate. Then read more about the collar cams and ongoing polar bear research at USGS.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: black-tailed prairie dogs courtesy Flickr/John Breitsch; black bear courtesy Flickr/vijay_SRV; Alexander Archipelago wolf (c) Michelle Rogers; oil pumpjacks courtesy Flickr/Vincent Lammin; wolves by John Pitcher; crowd courtesy Flickr/James Cridland; San Pedro River courtesy Flickr/Johnida Dockens; New Mexico meadow jumping mouse courtesy USFWS; elephant courtesy Flickr/Matt Rudge; New Haven lighthouse courtesy Flickr/versageek; green sea turtle courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Brocken Inaglory; polar bear screenshot courtesy Center for Biological Diversity.

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Center for Biological Diversity

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Tucson, AZ 85702