Petition Filed to Protect Smalltail Sharks
Smalltail sharks live from the Gulf of Mexico to the coast of Brazil, but their range is shrinking fast — they’ve already disappeared off the coast of at least 11 Brazilian states. Their numbers are shrinking too: In under three decades, they’ve declined more than 80%.
To save these sharks, who are teetering on the brink of extinction, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned NOAA Fisheries this week for their Endangered Species Act protection.
Smalltail sharks grow to 5 feet or less — small for a shark — and live in shallow waters, where they’re vulnerable to overfishing. Since they’re a slow-growing, late-maturing species, they can’t recover quickly from population losses.
“More than 100 million sharks, including smalltail sharks, are killed every year for their fins, meat and other body parts,” said Center biologist Kristin Carden. “This species’ catastrophic decline is alarming.”
Fighting for Whales From Coast to Coast
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Center’s campaigns to protect the ocean’s ancient leviathans continue. We’ve just filed an emergency petition with NOAA Fisheries to stop critically endangered North Atlantic right whales from being struck and killed by vessels in their calving grounds off the U.S. Southeast.
“Speeding ships can’t be allowed to kill mother right whales and their babies during this year’s calving season, so federal officials have to act quickly,” said Kristen Monsell, our oceans legal director.
In California, where drift gillnets have caught an estimated 12 Pacific humpbacks in the past two seasons alone, we sued the same agency to make protect them from those mile-long hanging nets. And, in a related win, on Friday California delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season to protect humpbacks and other marine life from deadly entanglements.
“The ultimate solution,” said the Center’s Catherine Kilduff, “is to use ropeless, whale-safe gear.”
Help us fight for whales with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund. If you do it today, your donation will be doubled.
Agreement Will Protect Endangered Hawaiian Petrel
Thanks to a legal agreement secured by the Center and allies — following a suit we filed — one of Hawai‘i's biggest resorts is taking steps to protect a highly endangered seabird: the ‘ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel.
Artificial lights attract and disorient these rare birds, who circle the lights until they strike human-made structures, fall to the ground from exhaustion, and are preyed upon or otherwise killed. But now, just as fledglings learn to fly, the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui is helping to ensure their first flights to sea stay on track — including removing, replacing, shielding and dimming lights across the property.
New Client Alert: The Streaked Horned Lark
Streaked horned larks are tiny songbirds with feathery horns found in Washington and Oregon. They were once so abundant around Puget Sound that turn-of-the-century golfers dubbed them a nuisance. Now they’ve lost most of their habitat to agriculture and urbanization, and their population has dwindled perilously.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected streaked horned larks as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but issued a special rule exempting agricultural activities from regulation under the law — a loophole so big you could drive a tractor through it.
We’ve launched a lawsuit to win these birds the full protection they deserve. As with all our wild clients, we’ll do everything we can to save them.
Why Carbon Capture Won’t Fix the Climate
Climate change is the ultimate emergency, threatening life on Earth as we know it — wildlife and humans alike.
But carbon capture and storage won’t fix it.
Carbon capture and storage — aka CCS — is a destructive stall tactic championed by the fossil fuel industry and other polluters, like the biomass industry. It takes resources away from the needed transition to clean, cheaper renewable energy like wind and solar.
Learn all about it on our new webpage.
Good News for the Amazon at Last
The narrow victory of Lula da Silva over President Jair Bolsonaro in this week’s Brazilian election should be a boon for the Amazonian rainforest, the incredible wetlands of the Pantanal, and the rest of us.
Deforestation accelerated dangerously across Brazil under Bolsonaro, who had a scorched-earth approach to environmental policy. That ecocide threatened Indigenous lifeways in the Amazon, native biodiversity, and the vital life-support and carbon-storage services the region provides to the rest of the planet.
During Lula’s previous administration, Amazon deforestation fell by more than 80% — so there’s reason to hope he’ll give this critical natural treasure some relief. “Let’s fight for zero deforestation,” he declared in his victory speech.
That’s Wild: New Nonstop-Flight Record (by a Bird)
As we reported at the start of fall, bar-tailed godwits are long-legged waders who make the longest known nonstop migration of any land birds powered by constant flapping — no restful soaring at all.
When we last mentioned these flap-happy birds, the world record for longest nonstop flight was held by an adult godwit known by the satellite tag number 4BBRW. He was a two-time champion, flying 7,850 miles straight in 2020 and 8,100 miles in 2021.
This year a five-month-old blew past him, flying 8,428 miles from Alaska to Tasmania. That’s 265 hours of nonstop flapping.
According to the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand, 4BBRW’s record was “blown out of the water by this young upstart.”
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Photo credits: Smalltail shark illustration by Camillo Ranzani/Biodiversity Heritage Library; North Atlantic right whales courtesy NOAA; Hawaiian petrel courtesy USFWS; streaked horned lark by David Maloney/USFWS; CCS diagram used with permission; Lula portrait by Neusa Cadore/Wikimedia, Amazon River by Jlwad/Wikipedia; Hurricane Ian courtesy NASA; bar-tailed godwit by Kristine Sowl/USFWS.
Center for Biological Diversity
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