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IUCN: Monarchs Are Endangered
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature just declared monarch butterflies endangered, placing them on its Red List of Threatened Species. Battered by habitat destruction, climate change, pesticides and more, the iconic insects join more than 40,000 other animals and plants as potential casualties of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.
Monarchs have declined 85% in two decades. The western population — which overwinters in California from states west of the Rockies — has suffered a heartbreaking 99% decline. Overall the migrating populations are less than half the size they need to be to avoid extinction. The Center for Biological Diversity has been working to save monarchs since we and allies petitioned to protect them in 2014.
Said the Center’s Stephanie Kurose, “The Fish and Wildlife Service must stop sitting on its hands and protect the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act right now, instead of hiding behind bureaucratic excuses.”
Help our fight for monarchs and other imperiled species worldwide with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Help Bring Climate Leaders to This Mega-Utility
The heat waves currently sweeping the globe make it clear — we’re in crisis. Wildfires and drought are devastating people and wildlife alike. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must rapidly transition from fossil fuels to a just, renewable energy future.
President Biden has committed to cleaning up the electricity sector by 2035. Reaching that goal requires changes at the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public utility and sixth-largest energy supplier. The good news: Right now there are open seats on TVA’s powerful board. Because TVA is federally owned and operated, its board members are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Let’s do everything we can to make sure those board seats go to climate champions. Tell your senators to confirm TVA board members who are willing and able to set the utility on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2035.
Wolf Killed in New York, New Pack in Oregon
A recent DNA analysis shows that an 85-pound canine shot by a New York hunter in December 2021 was a gray wolf — one of at least 11 killed south of the St. Lawrence River since 1993. When this animal was shot, gray wolves’ Endangered Species Act protection had been stripped nationwide; they’re now protected again after a lawsuit by the Center and allies.
Better wolf news from the West Coast: Oregon just reported that a new wolf pack has settled down in the western part of the state. Not yet named, the wolf family had at least five pups this year, photographed on July 4 by a trail camera.
“It’s heartwarming to see photos of this wolf family running through the forests of western Oregon,” said the Center’s Amaroq Weiss. “Now it’s time for state and federal leaders to step up and help these endangered and protected wolves return to the Northeast.”
Protection Sought for Southern Plains Bumblebees
The Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday to grant Endangered Species Act protection to Southern Plains bumblebees. They live in the prairies and grasslands of the Great Plains and Southeast, where their favorite flower is milkweed. Sadly, they’ve now disappeared from six of the 26 states they once called home. Their greatest threats are habitat loss and degradation and pesticides.
“These big, beautiful bees are disappearing at an alarming pace, but there’s still time to save them,” said Center scientist Jess Tyler, who wrote our petition.
The Mountain Lion in Brett’s Backyard
The Center’s Government Affairs Director Brett Hartl built an artificial stream in his northern Arizona backyard to help wildlife. With development draining the Southwest’s groundwater and climate change fueling drought, local animals have fewer watering holes than ever — so they really appreciate it.
For proof, check out this amazing video of a mountain lion drinking from Brett’s stream. She stayed for about five minutes and seems to come by every month or two. It’s hard to tell for sure, Brett says, but he thinks she’s the same lion he saw last year with three cubs. Look — she flicks her tail while she drinks, just like a house cat.
Brett sees lots of other animals at his stream, including bobcats, black bears, gray foxes, javelinas, mule deer, cottontail rabbits, and many kinds of birds.
Check it out on Facebook and YouTube.
Center Op-Ed: Extreme Heat Is Driving Extinction
Last summer, scorching temperatures caused mass fish die-offs and drove baby hawks to abandon their nests.
This season, wildlife is faring no better.
In this new op-ed in The Hill, the Center’s Noah Greenwald explains how climate change threatens Mt. Rainier white-tailed ptarmigans, salmon, American pikas, freshwater mussels and many other species the Center is fighting to protect — as we also call on Biden to declare a climate emergency.
“If we don’t change course, the result will be more of what we’ve already experienced — extinction at a rate our world hasn’t seen in at least 66 million years,” wrote Noah. “The stakes, like the excruciating heat we’re experiencing, will only get higher.”
That’s Wild: Friends Help Orphaned Elephants
When you’re stressed, sad or traumatized, does it help to know you have friends supporting you?
According to a new study, it does for orphaned baby elephants — which there may be more of these days, with poaching and drought killing many adult females.
Researchers followed herds of savanna elephants in Kenya for more than a year, checking the calves’ stress levels by looking at hormones in their dung. They found that young elephants whose mothers had died were less stressed when they’d made “friends” with other calves their age.
Even the world’s largest land animals get by with a little help from their friends.
Learn more from ZME Science.
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Photo credits: Monarch butterfly by Rene Mensen/Flickr; solar panels by andreas160578/Pixabay; wolf pack by Oregon Department of Fish and Game; Southern Plains bumblebees by Jennifer Hopwood/Xerces Society; screenshot of mountain lion video by Brett Hartl/Center for Biological Diversity; American pika by William C. Gladish; abandoned power plant courtesy MassDEP; African elephant by Charles J. Sharp/Wikimedia.
Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702