Endangered Earth Online: Your weekly wildlife update.
Snowy plovers
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

The Fight Is On to Save Tiny Beach Birds From ORVs

We're heading to court to save one of the most threatened shorebirds in North America from being crushed by dune buggies.

This week the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the California Department of Parks and Recreation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for allowing ongoing deaths of snowy plovers at San Luis Obispo County's Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. These pocket-sized, white-and-tawny shorebirds are federally protected, but their population is still declining.

The state park department isn't doing enough to protect plovers — as required by law — and last year alone, six of these charming little birds were found dead in vehicle tracks at Oceano Dunes.

"The sandy beaches and fragile dunes where plovers feed and breed must be protected," said Center scientist Ileene Anderson. "Letting dune buggies crush them isn't just illegal, it's indefensible."

Read more in The San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Channel Islands National Park

Santa Barbara Opposes Offshore Drilling

The Santa Barbara City Council approved a resolution this week opposing new drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells.

The resolution is the first in a statewide campaign, led by the Center, to rally local governments against proposals to expand offshore fossil fuel extraction in federal waters — following President Trump's April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to do just that.

"The last thing Californians want is more drilling and fracking off our coast," said the Center's Blake Kopcho. "Trump is delusional if he thinks we'll stand idly by and let him recklessly endanger wildlife and our communities with oil spills and toxic fracking chemicals."

Read more in Pacific Standard and find out how your California city can stand up for the ocean.

Wildlife Agency to Gun Down Wolves in Washington

Wolf pup

Officials in Washington state plan to kill members of the Smackout wolf pack, an operation that will likely mean the deaths of pups just born this year. The order was issued after a calf was injured by one or more wolves on public grazing land in Stevens County.

Killing 3-month-old wolf pups is an appalling way to tackle this problem. Instead of gunning down wild wolves, state officials should be ramping up nonlethal conflict-prevention measures. Moving cattle away from known wolf activity would be a far better solution. Read more.

Department of Interior building

'Corporate Stooge' Now No. 2 at Trump's Interior Department

Guess who's now the No. 2 person in charge at Trump's Interior Department, the agency in charge of managing endangered species and public lands? David Bernhardt — who's spent his career lobbying for the oil and gas industry, trying to water down the Endangered Species Act and weaken water quality in California's Bay Delta.

Bernhardt, confirmed by the Senate this week, served as Interior's top lawyer during the Bush administration, authoring several policies that sharply limited protections for endangered species. One policy even precluded species like the polar bear from protections against greenhouse gases, the primary threat to the animal's survival.

"Trump promised to drain the swamp, but instead he's filling it with the worst cast of anti-environmental corporate stooges in history," said the Center's Noah Greenwald.

Get more from the Los Angeles Times.

Stop This Dirty Energy Bill — Take Action


The Senate will vote soon on the disastrous Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017. This legislation promotes dangerous fracking and fossil fuel reliance and completely fails to envision or articulate a renewable energy strategy for our country. Its passage would make it all but impossible for us to achieve the Paris agreement target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

We need to stop this bill in its tracks. Tell your senators you don't want our energy policy dictated by Trump and climate-wrecking fossil fuel companies.


Senate Committee Votes to Gut Protections for Wolves

In the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee this week, two Democratic senators — Maryland's Ben Cardin and Delaware's Tom Carper — voted with John Barrasso and other Republicans to approve a deceptively named bill, the HELP Wildlife Act, that would strip protection from thousands of endangered wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming.

It would also prevent the EPA from addressing lead pollution's impacts on fish and other wildlife.

"Democrats need to solidify their conservation legacies, not help Trump and the Republican party destroy the environment," said the Center's Jamie Pang.

Read more in our press release.

164,000 People Call on the EPA to Ban Bee-killing Pesticides

Native bee

The Center and allies hand-delivered more than 164,000 comments to D.C. on Monday urging the EPA to ban neonicotinoid pesticides, a leading cause of pollinator declines — including massive bee die-offs.

Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat, pollinating most of the world's 250,000-plus species of flowering plants. Scientists say neonics are killing pollinators, but the EPA still allows their use across more than 150 million acres of U.S. farmlands. To save our pollinators, this must end.

Get more from Public News Service.

In The Revelator: Is Shark Week More Ratings Than Reality?

Great white shark

Shark Week. Seven days of shows celebrating this amazing ocean predator and the necessity of its conservation? Or a spine-chilling series of sensationalist stories showing sharks as frightening — the very opposite of vulnerable?

This week The Revelator takes on both sides, exploring the "film fakery" behind Shark Week, warning "the films may actually send the wrong message and harm endangered species." But the story doesn't totally dismiss all potential for the positive. (Hint: You, the viewer, are key.)

Read more in The Revelator.


Idahoans Protest Dangerous Cyanide Bombs

Across Idaho this week, people are protesting the use of M-44 cyanide traps to kill wildlife such as coyotes. In Boise and Lewiston — at "informational sessions" held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program — protesters told the program it must get rid of these cruel and inhumane extermination tools for good. An even bigger protest than Boise's is expected tonight in Pocatello.

Back in March a cyanide trap in a Pocatello neighborhood exploded, killing a family dog and injuring a 14-year-old boy. The Center and allies immediately petitioned for a ban on the deadly devices, which we won. Now it's time to make that temporary ban permanent.

Check out our media advisory and learn about tonight's protest from KPVI News 6.

Saguaro Ball

Wild & Weird: Dance With a Saguaro

In honor of the National Park Service's centennial last year, a choreographed group of Arizonans — in collaboration with officials at the state's Saguaro National Park — donned formal dance attire and swayed, shimmied and mamboed with the park's giant saguaro cactuses.

The Wild West dancers gathered to celebrate 100 years of protecting public lands and the species that inhabit them.

How do you celebrate public lands?

Check out our new video of the Saguaro Ball on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Snowy plovers by Mick Thompson/Flickr; Channel Islands National Park by Blake Kopcho/Center for Biological Diversity; wolf pup by Joachim S. Müller; Department of Interior building by AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia; smokestacks by isnapshot/Flickr; wolf by josephnv/Flickr; bee by karenretra/Flickr; great white shark by Bernard Dupont; coyote by dapperscoo/Flickr; Saguaro Ball by Evan Grae Davis.

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702