Miami blue butterfly
Center for Biological Diversity

House Dems Offer $100 Million to Endangered Species

In a memo just released by the House Natural Resources Committee, House Democrats said they’ll provide $550 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the upcoming budget reconciliation package — including $100 million for some of the rarest species in the United States.


Mirroring Chairman Raúl Grijalva’s Extinction Prevention Act of 2021, the proposal would fund on-the-ground conservation for four groups of species in imminent peril: eastern freshwater mussels, Southwest desert fish, Hawaiian plants, and butterflies like the rare, beautiful Miami blue.


“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Brett Hartl, the Center for Biological Diversity’s government affairs director. “This would be the largest investment in the recovery of endangered species in a generation. It’s exactly the type of bold action we need.”

Rice's whale, also called Gulf of Mexico whale

Suit Challenges Largest U.S. Offshore Lease Sale

The Center and allies sued the Biden administration this week for deciding to open up 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas leasing. This would be the largest offshore lease sale in U.S. history — harming the climate, frontline communities, and endangered species like Rice’s whale, among the most endangered cetaceans on the planet. The decision was based on out-of-date information and nonsensical modeling that asserted that not having the lease sale would cause more greenhouse gases.


“As parts of the country reel from Hurricane Ida, it’s obscene to allow business as usual in offshore leasing,” said Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center’s Oceans program. “Climate change is rapidly intensifying Gulf storms, fueling uncontrollable wildfires in the West, and threatening numerous species with extinction.”


Support our fights for wildlife in the Gulf and beyond with a gift to the Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Coati mother and kittens crossing a stream

Remote Access: A Coati Family Outing

One of our remote cameras spotted this mother coati and her six coati kittens roaming a mountain range at the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. The Sky Islands Archipelago, as these mountains are called, is a world-class biological diversity hotspot — and a hotspot for cuteness too, apparently.


Watch the video on Facebook or YouTube. Is Mama Coati in hot pursuit of some “me” time? If so, we don’t blame her. Six kids is a lot.

Bartram's stonecrop

Rare Arizona Plant Wins Protection

Bartram’s stonecrop is a blue-green desert succulent that could be driven extinct by livestock grazing, drought, and the notorious Rosemont Copper Mine outside Tucson, Arizona, home of the Center’s headquarters. Following our petition and legal action, on Monday the Fish and Wildlife Service finally agreed to protect it under the Endangered Species Act.


“Federal protection for Bartram’s stonecrop is more than 40 years overdue,” said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center. “The beautiful little plant faces threats at every turn. Without the Endangered Species Act, it has little hope of survival.”

People vs. Fossil Fuels graphic

People vs. Fossil Fuels: Biden’s Test

President Biden promised to fight for our climate and wildlife. While he’s taken important steps, he’s failed the most critical test: stopping the fossil fuel projects that power the climate emergency, violate Indigenous rights, and threaten wildlife and communities with toxic pollution. 


This October thousands of people will take action at the White House to demand that Biden stop approving fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency to launch a renewable energy revolution. The multi-day “People vs. Fossil Fuels” action will provide ways to make a difference, including opportunities to engage in civil disobedience.


Join the kickoff call on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET to learn how to get involved.

Snail darter

Historic Accomplishment: Snail Darter Recovered

Thanks to decades of government and collaborative efforts, the Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed to declare the snail darter recovered and remove its federal protection. After gaining fame in a 1978 Supreme Court case upholding the Endangered Species Act against the controversial Tellico Dam, the 3-inch-long fish slowly repopulated its habitat in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.


“Imperilment comes all too quickly, but recovery takes time,” said Center biologist Tierra Curry. “Despite constant political attacks on the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law has prevented the extinction of 99% of the plants and animals under its care — including, we now know, the snail darter.”

Monarch butterfly

EPA: Neonic Pesticides Hurt Most Endangered Species

Long-awaited studies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just revealed that three neonicotinoid insecticides likely harm all 38 protected amphibians in the country — and about three-fourths of all other endangered plants and animals.


Neonicotinoids are the most-used insecticides in the United States. Hundreds of other studies show they’re helping drive the declines of bees, birds, butterflies and freshwater invertebrates. But the EPA’s new “biological evaluations” are its first to evaluate their probable harm to our most imperiled wildlife.


“The American bumblebee has declined by an estimated 89% in just the past 20 years,” said the Center’s Environmental Health Program Director Lori Ann Burd. “There are more Starbucks stores than monarch butterflies in California. What will it take for the EPA to act on this information and ban these deadly chemicals?”

Baird's tapir

Revelator: The Baird’s Tapir, Our Climate Ally

Called the “gardener of the forest,” the Baird’s tapir is related to rhinos and horses but has a nose like an elephant’s trunk that helps it gobble up neotropical produce — including the seeds of carbon-sequestering trees. By dispersing the seeds in its dung, this hefty endangered mammal plays a big role (literally) in the fight against climate change.


Read more in The Revelator’s latest Species Spotlight and, if you haven’t already, sign up for The Revelator’s weekly e-newsletter

Brown tree snake

That’s Wild: Snakes Smell in Stereo

According to evolutionary biologist Kurt Schwenk, snakes smell in stereo with the help of their forked tongues and some other sensory organs humans don’t have. It turns out that serpents have two bulblike structures, called vomeronasal organs, that sit just below their nose. As they slither around, they rapidly flick their tongues to conjure up two vortices of odor-filled air. The two tips pull the odors back to their corresponding left or right vomeronasal organ, where the snakes’ brains instantly assess which side has the stronger smell.


Read more at SciTechDaily.

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Photo credits: Miami blue butterfly by Bill Bouton/Flickr; Rice's whale (also called Gulf of Mexico whale) courtesy NOAA; screenshot of coati family video courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Bartram's stonecrop by Alan Cressler; People vs. Fossil Fuels graphic; snail darter courtesy USFWS; monarch butterfly by Dendroica/Flickr; Baird's tapir by Brian Gratwick; brown tree snake by Alexandre Roux/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
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