USDA Program Killed 400,000 Native Animals in 2021
A federal program called Wildlife Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just announced it killed 404,538 native animals last year. According to its new report — which probably underestimates the real number — in 2021 the secretive, multimillion-dollar program massacred 324 gray wolves, 64,131 coyotes, 433 black bears, 200 mountain lions, 605 bobcats, 3,014 foxes, 24,687 beavers, and 714 river otters. It also unintentionally killed at least 2,746 animals, from bears to bobcats to songbirds — and even pet dogs.
“Killing carnivores to supposedly benefit the livestock industry just leads to more conflicts and more killing,” said Collette Adkins, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Carnivore Conservation program. “This is a stomach-churning, truly vicious cycle, and we’ll continue to demand change from Wildlife Services.”
With litigation and advocacy, the Center has been fighting Wildlife Services’ cruel killing for almost a decade, winning in states like California, Idaho, Minnesota and Washington. Help us win with a donation to our Stop Wildlife Services Fund.
Take Action: Help Stop This Risky New Pipeline
Recent global events make U.S. independence from volatile, climate-killing fossil fuels more urgent than ever. But oil and gas companies — backed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, our country’s largest public power provider — can’t wait to build another unnecessary, dangerous pipeline.
One of those companies will soon request a permit for the 32-mile Cumberland Pipeline to help the TVA burn more fracked gas. The project would harm families and the climate while blocking our needed transition toward a just, resilient renewable-energy future.
Tell federal energy regulators to put the public good over corporate greed and reject this destructive proposal.
Rock Daisy Gets a Reprieve From Gold Mining
Just a few weeks ago, the Center and allies petitioned to protect a rare California wildflower threatened by gold mining. Now the company proposing more mining in the plant’s habitat has decided to suspend its plan after the federal government, in an unprecedented move, required analysis of its environmental harms.
Inyo rock daisies eke out a living in high-elevation desert near Death Valley National Park, where they share their rugged home with iconic Joshua trees and a newly discovered species called the Inyo thread plant.
“Now that the immediate threat is behind us, our goal is to get the daisy and its habitat protected for good,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior Center scientist.
Suit Filed to Save Legless Lizards
The Center sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday for dragging its feet on protecting Temblor legless lizards. Responding to our 2020 petition, the Service announced almost a year ago that the little reptiles may deserve Endangered Species Act protection — but it hasn’t moved to make that decision.
Meanwhile oil and gas development is gobbling up the last few acres of the lizards’ home.
These legless lizards move like swimmers through the sands of California’s San Joaquin Valley. They can be distinguished from snakes by their moveable eyelids and detachable tails, which help them escape predators.
Washington Nixes Spring Bear Hunt — Thank You
Just in time to save Washington’s black bears at their most vulnerable, last weekend the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 5-4 against a proposed 2022 spring bear-hunting season.
“This vote will protect bear cubs from being orphaned by a reckless spring hunt,” said the Center’s Sophia Ressler. “It reeks of corruption that department staff and commissioners did the bidding of bear hunters by pushing this proposal to the commission only days before Gov. Inslee appointed new members.”
Supporters like you sent in more than 3,800 comments opposing this unsporting, inhumane hunt. Thanks — your actions made a difference.
Rare Bats May Finally Get Full Protection
In a hard-won victory for one of the world’s most endangered flying mammals, the Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed to protect northern long-eared bats as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Following a 2010 Center petition, the Service originally proposed this protection in 2013. But in 2015 it backpedaled and put weaker safeguards in place — letting logging, drilling, mining and other threats decimate the species’ habitat. After the Center and allies sued, a judge threw out that decision and ordered the Service to revisit it.
Northern long-eared bats have longer ears, longer tails and larger wing surfaces than other similarly sized bats. Once common in many U.S. states and eastern Canada, they’ve declined by almost 99%, largely due to the white-nose syndrome disease that has killed bats by the millions.
Suit Aims to Save Species From Cadmium Pollution
Cadmium is a cancer-causer that’s toxic to people and wildlife alike — and it builds up throughout the food chain. Yet in 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a 188% increase in how much of this heavy metal it will allow in U.S. waters, ignoring warnings from NOAA Fisheries that it could harm endangered species like sturgeon, Atlantic salmon and sea turtles.
So this Tuesday the Center filed suit.
“When the EPA nearly triples the allowable water pollution from a heavy metal it knows harms endangered fish and sea turtles, it’s clear Big Oil and Big Ag are calling the shots,” said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney with the Center’s Environmental Health program.
That’s Wild: 10-Armed Octopus Ancestor Predated Dinosaurs
According to scientists, a 330-million-year-old fossil of an octopus ancestor with 10 arms, found in Montana in 1988 and now newly analyzed, shows that the eight-armed cephalopods we know and love today originated well before the time of the dinosaurs.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.
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Photo credits: Fox by Peyman Zehtab Fard/Flickr; Cumberland Fossil Plant by Steven Greenwood/Wikimedia Commons; Inyo rock daisy by Cheryl Birker; Temblor legless lizard by Alex Krohn; black bear by Art Tower/Pixabay; northern long-eared bat by Dave Thomas/Flickr; leatherback sea turtle hatchling courtesy NOAA; mussels by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program; octopus by edmondlafoto/Pixabay.
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