Center for Biological Diversity

Grizzly bears

Donate Today to Support the Center's Work

Take action now

Bookmark and Share


Historic Petition: Open a New Chapter for America's Grizzly Bears

Yellowstone grizzly bearSome 50,000 to 100,000 grizzly bears once roamed between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Plains. Today there are fewer than 2,000 of the bears living in less than 4 percent of their historic range -- and they're genetically isolated. If grizzlies are truly going to recover, we have to do better.

That's why the Center for Biological Diversity filed a historic legal petition Wednesday calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand its plans for grizzly recovery, including returning them to vast portions of the American West. The petition identified 110,000 square miles of potential grizzly habitat in places like the Gila/Mogollon complex in Arizona and New Mexico, Utah's Uinta Mountains, California's Sierra Nevada and parts of Colorado. If enacted, it could triple the grizzly bear population in the lower 48 to as many as 6,000 bears.

Rather than strip protections away -- as the Fish and Wildlife Service is gearing up to do for Yellowstone's bears -- the focus should be on restoring grizzlies across more of the landscape.

"Grizzly bears are true icons of the West, and they deserve a real shot at recovery," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "That can only happen if we have more bears in more places."

Get more from Reuters.

Legal Action Seeks Protection for Flying Squirrels, Snakes, Woodpeckers, Fish

San Bernardino flying squirrelThe Center went to court this week over the Obama administration's failure to protect several species, including San Bernardino flying squirrels in California; Kirtland's snakes in the Midwest; Florida's Ichetucknee siltsnails; four freshwater species in the Southeast; and black-backed woodpeckers in Oregon, California and North Dakota.

As part of our historic 2011 agreement setting federal deadlines for protection decisions on 757 species, we're allowed to take legal action seeking Endangered Species Act protection for an additional 10 species each year. The species targeted for protection this week need fast action to save them from habitat loss, global warming, pollution, human population growth, water loss and a host of other threats.

Meanwhile, our 757 agreement continues to provide big benefits: So far 118 species have gained Endangered Species Act protection and another 24 have been proposed for protection.

Read more about the San Bernardino flying squirrel in the Los Angeles Times and get details on all our recent lawsuits on our Historic Win for 757 Species web page.

Powerful Polar Bear Ad Goes to 450 TV Stations -- Watch Video

Polar bearMore than 450 TV stations around the country this week began receiving a powerful new public service ad from the Center highlighting the global climate crisis and its devastating effects on polar bears. The 30- and 60-second spots feature heartbreaking footage of polar bears and melting sea ice and include a call to action.

"Global warming is pushing polar bears to the absolute brink," said Kierán Suckling, the Center's executive director. "It's one thing to read about their plight, but to witness them struggling, even on a screen, is incredibly powerful."

Scientists say that global warming, left unchecked, could drive two-thirds of polar bears extinct by 2050 and wipe out the rest by the end of this century. Our PSAs, going out to TV stations in all 50 states, link to a petition urging President Obama to take action to stem global warming -- including using existing laws like the Clean Air Act to make major cuts in greenhouse gas pollution.

Many thanks to all of you who donated to this project. Read more in our press release and watch the ads now.

Become a Monthly Sustainer

Wildlife, Wildlands Threatened by 7,000 Miles of Roads in National Forests

Southwestern willow flycatcher Arizona's Tonto National Forest and New Mexico's Gila National Forest have both developed new "travel-management plans" allowing destructive off-road vehicles on a combined total of nearly 7,000 miles of roads and paths, many created illegally -- and all harming endangered species habitat.

The Tonto's plan, though preliminary, would open more than 3,700 miles to off-road vehicles -- including habitat for Mexican spotted owls and southwestern willow flycatchers along the ecologically sensitive banks of the Salt and Verde rivers. Even a single vehicle driving through a streamside area like these can destroy riverbanks and introduce invasive species, scarring an ecosystem for years.

And the Gila's new plan -- though responding to rules meant to limit ORV travel -- will nevertheless continue letting ORVs run rampant over 3,000 miles of roads, including sensitive riparian areas near federally protected "critical habitat" for the endangered loach minnow and spikedace in the San Francisco River. But -- no doubt largely due to decades of careful monitoring and advocacy by the Center and allies -- the Gila's plan was better than it could've been: One major road going straight through the fishes' critical habitat on the San Francisco River was closed.

Read more about the plans for the Gila and the Tonto.

Lawsuit Aims to Protect Lesser Prairie Chickens From Killing, Harm

Lesser prairie chicken The Center and allies on Tuesday sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to adequately protect thousands of imperiled lesser prairie chickens from being killed or hurt by oil and gas drilling, grazing and other human activities.

Although the bird's population declined by roughly 50 percent last year, the agency this spring designated the animals as "threatened" rather than "endangered" -- a distinction that allows them to be harmed or killed as they're managed under voluntary conservation agreements in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

"Habitat destruction and drought are continuing to devastate the small remaining population of this magnificent grassland bird," said Jay Lininger, a senior scientist with the Center. "These unenforceable, pro-industry agreements fail to ensure the level of protection required to avert extinction."

Read more in the Wichita Eagle.

Fungus That's Killed Millions of Bats Arrives in Mississippi -- Take Action

Northern long-eared batThe swiftly spreading fungus that causes white-nose syndrome and has wiped out millions of bats has been found for the first time in Mississippi. Last week's announcement comes just months after wildlife officials in Michigan and Wisconsin reported the syndrome for the first time too.

The outbreak, which has now reached 25 states since 2006, has been called the worst wildlife health crisis in North America and continues to spread west. Bats are the primary vector of the fungus, but biologists have documented that people can also transport it as they move from one cave to another.

To stem the spread, the Center has called for closing caves to people for all-but-emergency travel, yet thousands of caves on public lands in the West remain open to recreational use. The latest cases in Mississippi only make it more urgent that large-scale action be taken to protect America's bats.

Read more in our press release, then take action for bats now.

Take Action

National Lawsuit Launched to Clean Up Airborne Lead Pollution

SmokestackThe Center and allies on Wednesday filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA for its failure to ensure that people and ecosystems are safe from dangerous lead in the air.

In 2008 the agency finally updated its standards for airborne lead (after 30 years of insufficient rules). Six years later, nine states and Puerto Rico have still failed to comply -- and the agency hasn't done anything about it. Our lawsuit to uphold the Clean Air Act seeks to compel the EPA to make California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Puerto Rico come into compliance.

Under the old standards, atmospheric lead levels are allowed to be 90 percent higher than they're supposed to be -- putting exposed children's health at risk and endangering wildlife.

"The EPA can't sit by any longer while polluting facilities continue to poison the air we all have to breathe," said the Center's Jonathan Evans.

Check out our press release.

New YA Climate Novel Out From Center Writer -- Read Pills and Starships

Calling all readers interested in both fiction and global warming -- check out Center Staff Writer Lydia Millet's new novel Pills and Starships, just published this week by Akashic. It's a young-adult "cli-fi" (that is, climate science fiction) novel set in a dystopic future where morality is measured in carbon: Babies are illegal and murder isn't.

Pills and Starships evokes a not-so-distant world in which superstorms are the norm; sea levels have advanced and coastal cities been submerged; new diseases roam the earth thanks to far-ranging insects; and the rich get vaccinated before they go out in public.

Not only that, but the privileged few who don't migrate around looking for a safe place to live get by on "mood-management" drugs -- and eventually buy contracts for their own deaths. The novel's precocious 17-year-old narrator, Nat, writes the story in a journal from a high-end Hawaiian resort where she and her brother have come with their parents for a mood-managed suicide the death companies call a "Final Week."

Besides being a long-time Center staffer, Lydia's also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and PEN-USA award winner. So we recommend checking out this novel -- which manages to be both frightening and hopeful -- whether you're young or old.

Listen to a National Public Radio interview from last weekend, buy the new book (for just $7) and learn more about the climate crisis.

Wild & Weird: World Cup's Endangered Mascot Has Been Kicked Around Enough

FulecoThe official mascot of this year's FIFA World Cup in Brazil isn't a lion or tiger -- it's an endangered Brazilian three-banded armadillo. And its name is Fuleco, which is a portmanteau of the words futbol and ecologia. Called a "tatu-bola" in Portuguese, the little armored critter was believed extinct until rediscovered in 1988. As a representative of FIFA, Fuleco has travelled the world drumming up excitement for the games -- but apparently not for its species' survival.

Environmentalists in Brazil are sounding off against FIFA and the World Cup for failing to allocate portions of Fuleco merchandising -- such as the sale of plush toys -- to the armadillo's recovery. Tatu-bola populations have declined by more than 30 percent in the past 15 years, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The animal's defense of rolling up into a ball makes it an easy target for poachers keen to tan its hide for purses and ashtrays.

So far FIFA has done shamefully little to protect the real fuzzy-headed faces behind the avatar of this year's games. We're tired of these roly-poly animals getting kicked around.

Read more about the three-banded armadillo and Fuleco at Weather Underground.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Grizzly bears courtesy Flickr/Szecska; grizzly bear courtesy Flickr/Shane Lin; San Bernardino flying squirrel courtesy Flickr/Darleen Ortlieb Frechen; polar bear courtesy Flickr/Valerie; wolves by John Pitcher; Southwestern willow flycatcher courtesy FWS; lesser prairie chicken courtesy Flickr/J.N. Stuart; northern long-eared bat courtesy Flickr/USFWS; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; smokestack courtesy Flickr/Senor Codo; "Pills and Starships" image courtesy Akashic with cover by Alin Ciortea, artwork by James Everett Stuart, and design by Katherine Bogden; Fuleco courtesy Flickr/Tania Rego, Agencia Brasil.

Donate now to support the Center's work.

This message was sent to .

The Center for Biological Diversity sends out newsletters and action alerts through Click here if you'd like to check your profile and preferences. Let us know if you'd like to stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us.

Facebook "Like" Us on Facebook

Twitter Follow Us on Twitter

Twitter Follow Us on YouTube

Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702