Yellowstone grizzly bears
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Trump to Strip Protections From Yellowstone Grizzlies

The Trump administration wants to end Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone's grizzly bears -- paving the way for trophy hunting in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It's a devastating blow, not just to the bears but to all the tribes and communities that have advocated passionately for keeping them protected.

"It's tragic that the Trump administration is sacrificing these magnificent animals to appease a tiny group of trophy hunters who want to stick bear heads on their walls," said Andrea Santarsiere of the Center for Biological Diversity. "This irresponsible decision ignores both science and the majority of Americans who want our wild animals protected."

Grizzly bear numbers in the Greater Yellowstone area have improved since the bears were protected in 1975, but the animals are still isolated from other grizzly populations and are threatened by recent increases in human-caused mortality.

Read more in TIME.

Foothill yellow-legged frog

California Protects Rare Foothill Yellow-legged Frog

Following a 2016 Center petition, the California Fish and Game Commission has deemed foothill yellow-legged frogs a candidate for protection under the state's Endangered Species Act, granting the species full legal safeguards for a year while the commission decides whether to protect them permanently.

The good news comes not a moment too soon, since these stream-dwelling frogs -- named for the lemon-yellow color on the undersides of their legs -- have disappeared from more than half their former locations.

"These amphibians are threatened by dams, climate change, pollutants and more," said the Center's Jenny Loda. "It's a huge relief that they're finally getting protection, which will also benefit other California wildlife and ecosystems."

Read more in our press release.

$5,000 Added to Reward for Killer of Two Rare Tortoises

Gopher tortoise

The Center this week added $5,000 to a reward for information leading to the apprehension of whoever killed two state-protected gopher tortoises in Florida. The pair was discovered by children on June 8, senselessly beaten near a bike path in Manatee County. One tortoise was already dead; the other, clinging to life, was rushed to an animal hospital -- but too late. The total reward now stands at $7,200.

"It's deeply disturbing that someone would harm these gentle creatures," said lifelong Floridian and Center attorney Elise Bennett. "They're our wild neighbors, and they deserve justice." Read more.

Ocelot

Feds Must Analyze How Agency Hurts Endangered Ocelots

The few remaining ocelots in the United States are being thrown a lifeline: Under a settlement achieved this week by the Center and allies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have agreed to conduct analyses aimed at ensuring that Wildlife Services, the USDA's infamous wildlife-extermination program, doesn't accidentally kill the highly endangered cats.

New evidence indicates the program has failed to minimize risks to ocelots, which can be harmed by its traps, snares and poisons -- including cruel M-44 cyanide devices.

"With fewer than 100 ocelots left in the United States, these beautiful cats desperately needed this good news," said the Center's Collette Adkins.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Taiwanese dolphins

U.S. Agency Proposes Protection for Taiwan Dolphins

The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed on Monday to protect rare Taiwanese humpback, or "white," dolphins under the Endangered Species Act. The Center and allies petitioned last year to protect the dolphins, now numbering fewer than 75.

Although the subspecies exists solely in Taiwan's waters, the U.S. listing could strengthen protection by Taiwanese authorities.

"These rare dolphins need protection to survive," said Center ocean scientist Abel Valdivia. "These small cetaceans -- like the vaquita in Mexico -- will disappear forever if we don't work together to save them."

Get more from the Courthouse News Service.

Kieran Suckling

"Scott Pruitt is smashing everything he touches at the EPA. Revoking the Clean Water Rule will open the door to polluting and bulldozing some of America's most important wetlands, which provide essential habitat to hundreds of endangered species, birds and migrating wildlife."

— Executive Director Kierán Suckling on Tuesday's proposal to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule. Read more.

Oil train

Court Nixes Approval of Massive California Oil Train Terminal

In a major win against oil trains, a California court has ruled that the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District illegally approved permits for the Bakersfield Crude Terminal, California's largest crude-by-rail terminal. The project would bring in 73,000 tank cars yearly. (Compare that to the 10,000 U.S. crude-oil cars operating throughout 2009.)

The Center and allies filed suit against the permitting process, which was conducted largely in secret. In fact, we uncovered that air-district officials advised the terminal against public noticing and pollution controls.

"This victory helps protect thousands of Californians and tells regulators across the state they must evaluate the hazards of these massive operations," said Center attorney Maya Golden-Krasner.

Read more in the Central Valley Business Times.

Agriculture

EPA Must Start Assessing Toxic Pesticide Interactions

The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of the Inspector General has released a report recommending the agency assess the enhanced toxicity caused by pesticide interactions, called "synergy," before approving pesticides.

The report cited the Center's landmark 2016 analysis, Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails, as evidence the EPA has failed to collect crucial synergy data.

"Pesticide companies are already sending synergy data to the U.S. Patent Office -- the EPA just needs to require that information too. It could make a huge difference to pollinators," said Center scientist Nathan Donley.

Read more in our press release.

California Halts Sage Grouse Hunting

Greater sage grouse

The California Fish and Game Commission has voted to prohibit sage grouse hunting during the 2017–2018 season after surveys confirmed continuing declines in the state's sage grouse populations. The Center has urged the commission to end sage grouse hunting for years.

"The commission did the right thing," said the Center's Lisa Belenky. "But to truly save this iconic western bird from extinction, we've got to protect its rapidly disappearing habitat."

Meanwhile threats to conservation efforts across the West are mounting as Trump's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered the Bureau of Land Management to review all federal sage grouse protection plans to see if they're impeding fossil fuel exploitation.

Read more in our press release.

Sea robin

Wild & Weird: Behold the Robin of the Sea

Armored sea robins are deep-sea bottom feeders that look a bit like the offspring of a dragon and a tank … though they're actually fish.

They're equipped with specialized fin rays they use for walking, a hipster mustache of barbels beneath their head -- which is covered in taste buds -- and four rows of bony plates that run down their body. So the name sea robin makes perfect sense. Right?

Check out our new armored sea robin video on Facebook and YouTube.

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Photo credits: Yellowstone grizzly bears by I-Ting Chiang/Flickr; foothill yellow-legged frog by Amy Lind/U.S. Forest Service; gopher tortoise by mtsofan/Flickr; ocelot by furlined/Flickr; Taiwanese white dolphins by pherrari/Flickr; Kierán Suckling staff photo; oil train by Thomas Hawk/Flickr; agricultural field by Peter Thoeny/Flickr; greater sage grouse by Tom Koerner/USFWS; sea robin courtesy NOAA.

Center for Biological Diversity
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