Rattlers Rule: A Victory for Snakes in Georgia
Following advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the last rattlesnake roundup in the state of Georgia has been transformed into a wildlife-friendly festival. That means this weekend, the revamped Whigham Rattlenake Roundup will celebrate snakes instead of collecting them and butchering them for their meat and skins.
“Whigham’s new vision emphasizes how cruel and antiquated the few remaining roundups are,” said Center lawyer Elise Bennett.
The Center has worked for more than a decade to outlaw these brutal roundups and protect eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, gopher tortoises and the 350 other wildlife species they harm.
Global Biodiversity Treaty Must Stop Extinction
This month the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity will meet to continue negotiating a global agreement on saving biodiversity. But the draft agreement only talks about reducing the rate and risk of human-caused extinction.
We need to fight for more. Extinction is a choice, and this year we must choose to stop it.
The Center and allies are pushing for a global agreement to #StopExinction — and to make that the biodiversity rallying cry. Learn more on Medium and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #StopExtinction.
If you’re part of a nonprofit organization, you can sign up your group to support the movement.
You can also support our work with a gift to the Center’s Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Great Plains Fish Protected as Endangered
After a 2020 lawsuit by the Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added a torpedo-shaped fish called the peppered chub to the endangered species list on Friday — along with 872 river miles of protected critical habitat in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.
Peppered chubs are on the brink of extinction, surviving in only about 6% of their historic range.
“Peppered chubs are barely getting this lifesaving protection in time,” said the Center’s Michael Robinson. “But under the Endangered Species Act, habitat protection, captive breeding and reintroduction can keep these exquisite fish alive.”
Courtroom Roundup: Pesticides
In this week’s work to get agricultural poisons out of the environment, wild creatures and people’s bodies, the Center petitioned the Biden administration to ban pesticides on national wildlife refuges. In 2018 alone, more than 350,000 pounds of these chemicals were unleashed on public lands meant to be sanctuaries.
We also sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to stop two dangerous organophosphates, chlorpyrifos and diazinon, from killing endangered species. Five years ago the Environmental Protection Agency found that 97% of endangered species are likely to be harmed by chlorpyrifos and 78% by diazinon — but still, the Service hasn’t taken meaningful action.
And in a big win for the wild — in response to a lawsuit we filed with a partner group — chemical giant BASF just agreed to stop the manufacture and sale of a pesticide called trifludimoxazin, which probably does severe harm to many threatened and endangered fish, including Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.
UN Will Forge First-Ever Global Plastics Treaty
After the Center and allies filed a petition signed by 1 million people — including almost 20,000 Center supporters — the United Nations just adopted a landmark mandate to negotiate the world’s first comprehensive global treaty to fight the plastic pollution crisis.
“This historic step should mark the beginning of the end of the plastic proliferation that’s poisoning and choking our planet and its inhabitants,” said Center lawyer Julie Teel Simmonds. “We can’t keep making more and more throwaway plastic and expect to recycle or burn our way out of the resulting human health, climate, and environmental catastrophe. Now the hard work begins to convert this commitment into results.”
Two Rare Mussels to Get Federal Protection
Responding to a Center petition, on Wednesday the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the western and Ouachita fanshell mussels — along with 654 miles of critical habitat in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.
Freshwater mussels are North America’s most endangered group of organisms because they’re so sensitive to water pollution.
“Protecting these unique mussels will help us take better care of the rivers they need to survive, which benefits us all,” said the Center’s Noah Greenwald. “Mussels like these two fanshells are excellent indicators of healthy streams, and their filter feeding helps keep our water clean.”
Win for Seabirds Killed by Fishing Gear
Following a Center petition, this week the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will crack down on fisheries that accidentally kill rare seabirds — 7,000 of which are hooked on longlines, entangled in nets, or otherwise killed by U.S. commercial fisheries every year.
One frequently caught species is the black-footed albatross, a long-lived bird with uncommon dark feathers and a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet. Others include the sooty shearwater, northern fulmar, and red-throated loon.
“Declining seabirds are a global conservation crisis,” said Center attorney Catherine Kilduff. “It’s a relief that they may finally get the protections required by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.”
Sign Up for Food X, Speak Up With Billie Eilish
Have you signed up for Food X yet? If not, you’re missing out.
Every month the Center’s Population and Sustainability program sends out Food X, a free e-newsletter about creating a just food system that protects people, wildlife and the environment.
Our February issue asked you to join us — and Grammy Award–winning singer Billie Eilish — in supporting the Healthy Future Students and Earth Act, a pilot grant program to help schools serve delicious, healthy, fair, climate-friendly and plant-based meals.
Check out recent issues and sign up to get Food X.
Revelator: 20 Endangered Species in Ukraine
Russia’s invasion threatens millions of people and a vibrant culture — and the Ukrainian landscape, home to dozens of unique endangered species.
We profile 20 of them, including a semiaquatic cousin of moles, a birch with just 50 mature trees left on Earth, and a bee not seen since 1963.
Read more in The Revelator, and don’t miss out on its free weekly newsletter full of the latest and greatest environmental stories.
That’s Wild: It’s Invertebutt Week!
If you’re anything like us, you could use a spot of joy and wonder right about now. Luckily, it’s #InvertebuttWeek, when we get to celebrate the wonderful world of invertebrates’ rears.
Our contribution to #invertebutt week: this amazing "alien butt spider" (Araneus praesignis), pictured above, showing off its other-worldly invertebooty.
After you explore that hashtag on Twitter, learn about just a few of the invertebrates the Center works to save.
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Photo credits: Eastern diamondback rattlesnake by Mary Keim/Flickr; ivory-billed woodpecker illustration in the public domain; peppered chubs by David Fenner/USFWS; Chinook salmon courtesy NOAA; western fanshell mussel by Ed Miller/Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; black-footed albatross by DKRKaynor/Wikimedia; school lunch via Canva; Carpathians, Ukraine, by Iurii Bakhmat; alien butt spider by Robertwhyteus/Wikimedia.
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