Petition Filed to Save Manatees From Boats
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies just petitioned Florida to update its boater-safety course to protect imperiled manatees, other marine mammals, sea turtles and coastal birds from suffering and death.
On average, boats kill more than 100 manatees every year in Florida, injuring many more. But the state's current boater-safety course doesn’t test people on how not to hit these gentle giants or other vulnerable animals. Our petition aims to change that when Florida updates its course as early as this year.
“Unsafe boating kills manatees and threatens the species’ survival, and better education could save a lot of animals,” said Center attorney Ragan Whitlock. “Florida wildlife officials should seize this opportunity to educate boaters and put a stop to these senseless deaths.”
Join our fight for manatees and other species with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Big Legal Wins Block Fossil Fuels on Public Lands
In a major victory for the climate, a judge just halted federal coal leasing nationwide until the Bureau of Land Management properly studies the coal program’s globally significant climate damage. A leasing ban from 2016 was overturned under Trump, so the Center and allies went to court to put it back in place.
This week we also scored an agreement closing 11 oil wells and preventing a Trump-era oil pipeline in Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, famous for its vibrant wildflowers and rare wildlife. And in Colorado we won an agreement banning new oil and gas leasing on 2.2 million acres — home to Gunnison sage grouse, razorback suckers and Colorado pikeminnows. There, too, the BLM must do a valid study of leasing’s climate harms.
Suit Filed for 49 Endangered Species in Hawai’i
The Center just sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to demand habitat protection for 49 rare Hawaiian plants and animals — all of whom could soon go extinct without it. The Service protected these species in 2016, after a landmark Center settlement, but still hasn’t designated critical habitat as the Endangered Species Act requires.
Forty-eight of the species, like the Nalo Meli Maoli or Hawaiian yellow-faced bee, are found only in Hawai‘i. The elusive ‘Akē‘akē is a Hawaiian population of band-rumped storm petrels.
“After six years of dragging its feet, it’s clear the agency had no intention of protecting habitat for these severely endangered species, just like it’s failed so many others,” said the Center’s Hawai‘i Director and Staff Attorney Maxx Phillips.
Victory Against Grazing to Save Rare Plant, Lush River
After a lawsuit by the Center and allies, the Bureau of Land Management agreed to remove all trespassing cows annihilating Arizona’s San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. This 55,00-acre biodiversity hotspot harbors some of the last populations of a rare, beautiful plant called the Huachuca water umbel — which we won protection for in 1997 — and other endangered species we defend, from ocelots to desert pupfish.
Nobody has filed more complaints about trespassing cattle in this area than the Center — specifically, our cofounder Robin Silver. Said Robin: “Cows don't belong here or anywhere else along desert streams.”
The Magic of Wolves and Beavers
An ambitious plan to rewild a wide swath of landscape in the U.S. West, published in the journal BioScience, would set aside some 70 million acres now leased out to livestock operators to bring back gray wolves and beavers.
Hunting and trapping nearly wiped out these native animals to facilitate cattle grazing; their reintroduction would help restore public lands to their former glory and fight both drought and climate change.
Lawsuits Launched for 8 Species in 7 Days
On Wednesday the Center and allies filed a formal notice of intent to sue the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect six endangered species — Florida bonneted bats, Miami tiger beetles, two butterfly species and two plants — from a destructive water park and retail development called Miami Wilds.
On Monday the Center warned we’ll sue the Fish and Wildlife Service for being two years late in protecting habitat for highly endangered Barrens topminnows, shimmery 4-inch fish barely hanging on in a handful of Tennessee streams.
And seven days ago, we launched a suit over the Service’s failure to grant Endangered Species Act protection to lesser prairie chickens. These unique dancing birds have been waiting 30 years for safeguards — all while losing habitat to oil, gas and other development.
Watch This: A Prayer Run for the Santa Ritas
Earlier this year, Tohono O’odham runner Marlinda Francisco did a sunrise acknowledgement run in southern Arizona to honor the richness of the Santa Rita Mountains and highlight threats they face — including a proposed open-pit copper mine that would span more than 4 miles and forever alter the area’s ecology.
This beautiful mountain range — called Ce:wi Duag, or Long Mountain, in the Tohono O'odham language — is full of ancient indigenous cultural sites and present-day significance to the Tohono O’odham. It's also a biodiversity hotspot and critical habitat for jaguars.
Check out the video on Facebook or YouTube.
Revelator: Are Jaguarundis Extinct in the U.S.?
Jaguarundis once ranged into Texas, but they haven’t been documented in the United States since 1986. The last one we know of was killed by a car.
Now, a new study suggests, it’s time to reintroduce these cool-looking, weasel-like small cats.
Read more in The Revelator — and don’t miss the free e-newsletter bringing you each week’s best environmental articles and essays.
That’s Wild: Squirrels Sploot — Maybe We Should Too
“Sploot” is a recently invented word for heat-dumping — when animals like dogs and rabbits lie flat on their stomachs on the ground, with all four limbs splayed out, to help disperse the heat.
Squirrels seen splooting in Central Park this week prompted New York City’s parks department to reassure residents that the behavior was healthy — indeed, splooting spotting is nothing new for the city, where squirrel splooters were spied sprawling on fire escapes in the summer of 2019. Going forward, we may need to try some splooting ourselves.