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Take Action: Free California’s Dying Tule Elk
Instead of protecting the native tule elk of California's Point Reyes National Seashore, the National Park Service is confining — and even killing — members of the largest herd, all to appease livestock owners.
While pushing a disturbing plan to shoot these beautiful native animals, who were once believed extinct, the agency keeps one of the park's three herds trapped behind an 8-foot fence on the Tomales Point peninsula. The Center for Biological Diversity and our allies are in court to stop the elk-shooting plan, but the Tomales Point herd is dying anyway — trapped without access to enough food or water. Meanwhile privately owned cows graze freely across the park's public lands.
Tell the Park Service to free the elk and protect Point Reyes ecosystems for native wildlife — not the livestock owners whose cattle are destroying them.
Court Wins for Jumping Mice and Sac-Winged Bats
Great news this week in our legal work to save endangered species from extinction: Habitat protection for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse was upheld; red tree voles have a new shot at federal help; and with allies we secured an agreement to protect critical habitat for 23 species in Micronesia.
Cattlemen’s associations had tried to overturn critical habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, but that challenge was rejected on Friday. The conservation benefits of protecting the species’ home from livestock grazing, said the court, outweighed the costs.
In the Pacific Islands, our agreement will protect nine rare animals and 14 plants — from orchids to tiny sac-winged bats, skinks, butterflies, and orange-and-yellow tree snails.
And in Oregon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to decide, by early 2024, whether red tree voles on the state’s northern coast — whose status has been in contention for two decades — should finally get much-needed Endangered Species Act protection.
California Could End Protection of Joshua Trees
California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has just recommended removing interim safeguards from the state’s iconic Joshua trees — opening the door to their widespread destruction. But the trees can still be saved if the state’s Fish and Game Commission decides to go against that recommendation at its meeting in June.
“The commission has the final say on whether Joshua trees maintain the legal protection they so desperately need,” said the Center’s Brendan Cummings, a Joshua Tree resident. “This decision is a litmus test that will show whether the state’s climate leadership is real or just empty rhetoric.”
The Los Angeles Times editorial board agrees.
30,000 Oregon Acres Preserved for Earth Day
In time for Earth Day, The Wildlands Conservancy, which owns California’s largest nonprofit nature preserve system, just announced it’s expanding into other western states. With the help of acquisition funds from the Center, the group made its first out-of-state purchase — Oregon’s 30,000-acre Enchanted Rocks Preserve, formerly named Cherry Creek Ranch — where all land-management and financial decisions will prioritize creating resilience to the impacts of climate change and maximizing carbon sequestration.
“It’s an honor to partner with the Center for Biological Diversity,” said Frazier Haney, the Conservancy’s executive director. “The Center is recognized as the most effective group in America in protecting imperiled species.”
Want to celebrate by making a difference this Earth Day? Check your inbox tomorrow for five ways to help us save life on Earth.
Report: People of Color More Likely Harmed by Pesticides
A study published this week in BMC Public Health, an academic journal, found that Black, Indigenous and people of color — along with low-income communities — shoulder an outsized burden of the harms caused by pesticides in the United States.
The study is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of U.S. disparities in pesticide protections and oversight.
“Pesticides are more likely to harm people of color because of firmly entrenched policies and laws that stack the deck against them,” said Nathan Donley, the Center’s environmental health science director. “This research identifies concrete steps the Biden administration can take to begin righting these wrongs.”
Commemorating Worst Oil Spill in U.S. History
Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The blast killed 11 people and set off the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
But in the years since that tragedy, Big Oil has kept drilling and spilling, harming the health of people, marine environments and wildlife. We can't afford to let fossil fuel companies spill even more toxic oil into our oceans and onto our beaches.
Watch chilling footage of the Deepwater Horizon spill on Facebook or YouTube — and keep working with us to rein in dirty, dangerous oil and drilling. Check your inbox tomorrow for a way to take action.
Revelator: Studying Endangered Orcas
That's Wild: Do Mushrooms Use Words?
You may know trees can communicate with each other using chemical signals. Well, mushrooms can do it, too.
Fungi “talk” to each other through long, thread-like underground structures called hyphae — a bit like nerve cells in human brains.
Scientists studying their signals previously found patterns strikingly similar to those in human speech. When the hyphae of wood-digesting fungi encountered wooden blocks, the firing rate of their impulses increased — suggesting fungi may use an electrical language to share information about food or injury.
Now there’s new research on the electrical signals generated by four fungi species — enoki, split gill, ghost and caterpillar fungi — finding that those increases often cluster into trains of activity resembling vocabularies of up to 50 words.
Read more in The Guardian.
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
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Photo credits: Tule elk by Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia; New Mexico meadow jumping mouse by Jennifer Frey/USFWS; San Ardo oil field courtesy Drew Bird Photography; Joshua tree by Christopher Michel/Flickr; Enchanted Rocks Preserve by Jack Thompson/The Wildlands Conservancy; pesticides courtesy USDA; screenshot of Deepwater Horizon video footage courtesy BP and NOAA Fisheries; Southern Resident orcas courtesy NOAA; split gill mushrooms by Bernard Spragg/Wikimedia.
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