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Suit Filed to Protect More West Coast Fishers
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday to force it to protect West Coast fishers. Once targeted by trappers, these plush-furred, fierce relatives of minks and otters are now threatened by logging, climate change, pesticides and more.
We’ve been fighting for fishers in and out of court since 2000, when we first petitioned to protect them throughout their West Coast range. Despite previously finding that these fishers deserved a lifeline, in 2020 the Service declared it would only safeguard them in the southern Sierra Nevada.
“These tenacious animals can eat porcupines, but they can’t survive the damage we’re doing to their forests,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director. “Fishers needed Endangered Species Act protection 20 years ago, and they need it even more today.”
Win: Court Nixes Air Permits for Plastics Project
Following a lawsuit by the Center and allies, a court just reversed Louisiana’s decision to grant Formosa Plastics air permits for its massive proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish. The permits would have let Formosa build a 10-plant, 2,400-acre complex spewing more than 800 tons of toxic pollution into the air every year, worsening environmental racism and harming the health of St. James’ predominantly Black residents in a region already known as “Cancer Alley.” The project would’ve emitted up to 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases every year, mostly to make throwaway plastics.
“This is a monumental victory for communities and the environment, and it should mark the end of this terrible project,” said Center lawyer Julie Teel Simmonds. “The ruling affirms that it’s completely contrary to the public trust and environmental justice to further pollute a Black community that’s already breathing unhealthy air."
Lawsuit Aims to Save Montana Grizzlies From Grazing
Along with our allies, the Center filed suit Monday to curtail livestock grazing threatening grizzly bears on the east side of Montana’s Paradise Valley, just north of Yellowstone National Park. Grazing in grizzly habitat is putting the majestic bears at higher risk of being killed in response to conflicts with cattle operations.
“The Forest Service’s decision to increase livestock grazing on public lands in important grizzly bear habitat is completely irresponsible,” said Andrea Zaccardi, our carnivore conservation legal director. “Putting livestock in habitat where grizzly bears live is akin to baiting these imperiled animals into conflicts. It’ll only lead to dead bears and thwart the recovery of this threatened species.”
Help us save grizzlies and other wildlife with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Rise With Us Against Manchin’s Dirty Deal
Last week Center staffers joined 600 others at the People vs. Fossil Fuels rally outside the U.S. Capitol. Grassroots organizers, Indigenous water protectors, and climate activists traveled across the country to call for an end to a dangerous pipeline deal between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Democratic leadership that may soon be forced through Congress.
This fossil fuel industry-watermarked legislation would fast-track dangerous oil and gas projects, harm frontline communities, weaken bedrock environmental laws, and hurt endangered species like endangered candy darters and Roanoke logperch.
Now you can help: Tell your members of Congress that you're counting on them to block any more handouts to Big Oil.
Tricolored Bats Proposed for Protection
After a Center petition and lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed Endangered Species Act protection for tricolored bats, among the smallest and most imperiled bats in eastern North America.
Tricolored bats weigh less than a sheet of paper, yet each one can eat a million insects — including mosquitoes and agricultural pests — every year. In the past two decades, white-nose syndrome, climate change and habitat loss have reduced populations by a frightening 90% across most of their range.
“I’m thrilled that these tiny bats are finally getting safeguards,” said Center scientist Will Harlan. “They urgently need critical habitat protection, too.”
Court Win: Science Says Right Whales Need Help
A federal court decided in favor of science and North Atlantic right whales last week after the Center and our allies intervened in a case brought by the lobster industry. The industry had argued against the science supporting NOAA Fisheries’ efforts to protect the critically endangered whales from entanglements in lobster gear.
In fact the feds’ efforts to stop those often-fatal encounters have been too weak — not too strong.
“Right whales can’t wait any longer for stronger protections from deadly entanglements in fishing gear,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center. “The science has shown that for years. The federal government needs to take bold action to save these critically endangered whales from extinction.”
Agreement: Arizona Species to Be Spared From Cows
On Monday a federal judge approved an agreement, secured by the Center and allies, that will protect crucial habitat for wildlife from cattle grazing in part of southeast Arizona.
The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is a beautiful oasis with dramatic, 1,000-foot canyons harboring rare species ranging from birds like western yellow-billed cuckoos to fish like Gila topminnows, desert pupfish and spikedace.
“Cattle grazing has devastated streamside habitats across the Southwest and pushed a lot of vulnerable plants and animals closer to extinction,” said Chris Bugbee, Southwest conservation advocate at the Center. “I’m hoping this agreement will help give some of them a fighting chance.”
Starting Today: Our Food Justice Film Festival
The Center’s third annual virtual Food Justice Film Festival begins today and runs through Sunday. It’s free and open to the public.
The featured films explore the links between food justice and environmental sustainability. They showcase community activists creating powerful movements that connect what we eat to our culture, our identity, our health, and the health of the planet.
This year’s films are Poisoning Paradise, Fruits of Labor, RETURN: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health and Spirit, From Gangs to Gardens, The Seed Saver, and I’m Just a Layman in Pursuit of Justice: Black Farmers Fight Against the USDA. In addition to the films, you can watch prerecorded panel discussions with filmmakers and activists.
Sign up now to unlock free access to all the films during the festival.
That’s Wild: Meet the Animal Teachers
Just a handful of species meet biology’s definition of animal teachers. To qualify animals need to show they’re changing their behavior in front of their “students” — without immediately benefitting themselves — and those “students” must show they’ve gained knowledge or skills.
The species who are cool enough to school are well worth learning about. Meerkats teach their pups how to eat scorpions without getting stung by feeding them progressively active arachnids. Rock ants use a technique called “tandem running” to guide peers toward new food sources or nest sites, pausing periodically to make sure the novice has memorized a landmark — a tap of an antenna tells the teaching ant when the lesson is learned. And Australian birds called superb fairy wrens start teaching music very early: Mother wrens sing their eggs a secret musical passcode that, once the eggs are hatched, chicks use to ask for food.
Learn more from National Geographic.
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Photo credits: Pacific fisher by Bethany Weeks/USFWS; Louisiana plastic plant by Mark Dixon/Flickr; grizzly bear by petechar/Flickr; People vs. Fossil Fuels rally courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; tricolored bat by Dave Thomas/Flickr; North Atlantic right whale by Allison Henry/NOAA; western yellow-billed cuckoo by Peter Pearsall/USFWS; Food Justice Film Festival graphic courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Lake Mead by by Don Barrett; meerkat by Matthew Thomas/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
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