If you like what you read here, sign up to get this free weekly e-newsletter and learn the latest on our work.
Help Sought for Great Hammerhead Sharks
With unmistakable wide, flat heads, great hammerhead sharks can reach 20 feet in length and live to be 44. Sadly these fascinating animals have declined by at least 80% over the past 70 years. So the Center for Biological Diversity just petitioned NOAA Fisheries to protect them and their habitat under the Endangered Species Act.
The sharks, who live off Hawai‘i and the U.S. East Coast, are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature — the designation that comes right before “extinct in the wild.” The U.S. government needs to catch up.
“These huge, iconic animals desperately need federal help,” said Emily Jeffers, a Center attorney. “They’re being slaughtered for their fins and killed in great numbers by gillnets and other fishing gear. With Endangered Species Act protection, we can ensure the next generation of humans will see these amazing creatures in the wild.”
Help us save sharks and other species with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
After Half a Century, Caribbean Flower Protected
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally protected a 10-foot-tall, purple-flowering shrub that lives only in the Virgin Islands: marrón bacora. The Smithsonian Institute first petitioned to protect it in 1975; the Center sued the Service in 2004 for failing to make a protection decision.
“I’m thrilled this gorgeous plant is finally protected, but five decades is far too long to wait,” said Noah Greenwald, director of the Center’s Endangered Species program. “The Fish and Wildlife Service should be the strongest advocate fighting against extinction, but it seems far too concerned with avoiding controversy and preserving bureaucratic fiefdoms.”
U.S. Mining Rules Need Reform — Take Action
As we ramp up clean energy development, our need for minerals like lithium — a key component in electric vehicle batteries and other renewable energy storage — is also increasing. In the United States, much of the mining for those minerals takes place on public lands under outdated regulations that don't do enough to protect human communities and the natural world.
It's past time to ensure that mineral mining on public lands meets the highest environmental standards.
Fortunately the U.S. Department of the Interior has committed to the first step in updating these woefully inadequate regulations.
You can help: Tell the department you're counting on it to bring mineral mining into the 21st century.
Feds Must Help Crocs at Florida Nuclear Plant
Built in South Florida wetlands, Turkey Point Nuclear Plant’s cooling canal system has hosted American crocodiles for decades. But poor water quality caused an ecological collapse — with long-term consequences for crocodiles and their habitat.
We just warned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Fish and Wildlife Service we’ll sue if they let the nuclear plant threaten the species’ survival and recovery.
“By ignoring harmful impacts to crocodiles and their habitat, the agencies have failed to secure the species’ future,” said Center attorney Elise Bennett. “And that’s wrong.”
Lawsuit Launched to Save Coral Habitat
The Center just filed a notice of intent to sue NOAA Fisheries to force it to protect habitat for 12 coral species around Florida and Pacific Ocean islands. Following a Center petition, these corals — including pillar coral, lobed star coral, and rough cactus coral — won Endangered Species Act protection in 2014. But they still don’t have federally protected critical habitat.
Climate change has already wiped out about half the world’s coral reefs, and one-third of the remaining reef-building corals — including these 12 species — risk extinction. Critical habitat could help them by improving water quality and limiting overfishing, dredging and development.
California Deadlocks on Joshua Trees
Since the Center petitioned to protect western Joshua trees in 2019, our supporters have sent thousands of comments asking the California Fish and Game Commission to safeguard them under the state’s Endangered Species Act.
At a public hearing last Thursday — where more than 200 people, including Center supporters, testified — the commission finally voted on protection. The result was a tie.
“This should’ve been a unanimous vote,” said the Center’s Brendan Cummings. “We’re running out of time.”
Thank you for everything you’ve done so far to defend this unique, important species. The fight isn’t over: Commissioners will vote again in October. We’ll keep you posted.
Get Our Population and Sustainability Newsletter
Did you know the Center was the first major environmental organization to work on population issues? Through creative media, advocacy and public outreach, we raise awareness about how unsustainable human population growth and consumption endanger wildlife — while we also push for solutions, like universal access to reproductive healthcare; comprehensive sex education; gender equity; and just, healthy food systems.
Join us in this work by signing up for Pop X, the monthly e-newsletter of our Population and Sustainability program.
That's Wild: How Animals See the World
Back in 1909 biologist Jakob von Uexküll described each animal’s perception of reality as its Umwelt — the German word for environment — defined by the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures it experiences every day.
As science journalist Ed Yong explains in his new book An Immense World, human beings’ Umwelt is wider than that of many other species, but there’s plenty we don’t get to perceive. We can’t feel electric fields as sharks and platypuses can, for example, or see infrared radiation, like rattlesnakes and vampire bats.
“To the whiskers of a seal,” writes Yong, “seemingly featureless water roils with turbulent currents left behind by swimming fish — invisible tracks that the seal can follow. To a bee, a plain yellow sunflower has an ultraviolet bull’s-eye at its center, and a distinctive electric field around its petals. To the sensitive eyes of an elephant hawk moth, the night isn’t black, but full of colors.”
Read more in The New York Times.
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
Donate now to support the Center's work.
Photo credits: Great hammerhead shark by Christa Rohrbach/Flickr; monarch butterfly by Colin Rose/Wikimedia; marrón bacora courtesy USFWS; open pit copper mine by brewbrooks/Flickr; American crocodile by Judd Pat/NPS; pillar coral by August Rode/Flickr; Joshua trees © Glen E. Goodman; book covers used with permission; city via Canva; bearded seal by foilistpeter/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702